Heathrow airport signs UK Steel Charter

London Heathrow Airport has been named as the latest signatory to the UK Steel Charter.

"Heathrow expansion is an opportunity to deliver an economic boost for all the nations and regions of the UK, and supporting the [UK] steel industry is key to achieving that," said John Holland-Kaye, the airport's chief executive.

He said that the signing of the Charter would mean that Heathrow would build on its 2016 commitment to follow public sector procurement requirements for steel.

By signing the Charter, Heathrow has committed to taking specific steps to maximise the amount of UK steel it uses in expansion projects going forward and this would involve developing a future steel pipeline, detailing and publicising its future steel requirements well in advance of tendering and construction. It also means placing a requirement in appropriate contracts requiring the origin of steel to be provided and monitoring and producing data on the levels of UK-produced steel used in the expansion of the airport.

The UK Steel Charter is an important new initiative aimed at maximising the amount of UK-produced steel used in UK construction and infrastructure projects. Building on pre-existing government policy in this area, the Charter asks organisations to sign up and commit to a range of simple procurement steps, ensuring decisions take into account longer term strategic sustainable aims such as economic growth, and social and environmental considerations, as well as cost. The steps will inject real transparency into procurement practises, maximising the ability of UK steel producers to compete for and win supply contracts in the UK.  

UK Steel plans to encourage more organisations to follow Heathrow’s examples and sign the Charter, in particular encouraging those key Government departments with oversight for major projects and spending, such the Department for Transport and the Ministry of Defence. With Heathrow Expansion now on-board, support will also be sought from other major infrastructure projects, including HS2 and offshore windfarm developers. Heathrow’s support should now act as a catalyst for others right across the UK to sign up and to use their purchasing power to support UK steel, UK manufacturing and UK jobs.

Gareth Stace, UK Steel's director general said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Heathrow Expansion has decided to sign the UK Steel Charter. Right from the start, Heathrow expansion has been committed to ensuring that the benefits of this multi-billion pound project are felt in every corner of the United Kingdom. In signing the UK Steel Charter, Heathrow is giving steel producers the length and breadth of the UK the best possible chance of playing a major part in this exciting project.” 

Deirdre Fox, director of strategic business development at Tata Steel in Europe and Chair of UK Steel Procurement Committee said that Heathrow should be applauded for supporting strong supply chains and thereby communities across the UK as it expands its operations. “Signing up to the UK Steel Charter will help ensure UK steel companies have the best chance to provide the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of steel needed for the expansion project," she said. 

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union, commented: “This is another welcome signatory to the UK Steel Charter. Heathrow Expansion is leading the way in the private sector in demonstrating its commitment to our steel industry."

Rickhuss described Heathrow's signing as a big vote of confidence in the UK’s ability to supply into major infrastructure and construction projects.

“I hope other major steel consumers will follow Heathrow Expansion’s example and sign up to the UK Steel Charter,” Rickhuss added.