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Two Northern Ireland sites shortlisted for Heathrow expansion hubs

 

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Plans for a third runway at Heathrow were given the go-ahead last year. (Hannah McKay/PA)

Plans for a third runway at Heathrow were given the go-ahead last year. (Hannah McKay/PA)

Plans for a third runway at Heathrow were given the go-ahead last year. (Hannah McKay/PA)

Two sites in Northern Ireland have been shortlisted as potential off-site construction centres for the £16bn Heathrow expansion.

When the third runway at the airport was given the green light last year, it was announced that 'logistics hubs' would be set up across the UK to help spread the economic benefits of the project.

The hubs will be involved in constructing components for the runway, which will then be transported to the airport for installation.

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A total of 18 sites across the UK have been shortlisted for potential logistics hubs

A total of 18 sites across the UK have been shortlisted for potential logistics hubs

A total of 18 sites across the UK have been shortlisted for potential logistics hubs

John Graham Construction's Michelin site in Ballymena and MJM Marine's former Shackleton Barracks military base in Ballykelly have been selected as potential hubs for Northern Ireland.

A longlist of 65 locations across the UK have been whittled down to 18 for the shortlist, however only four sites will make the final cut. They are set to be announced later this year, with construction beginning in 2021.

In the autumn, the two shortlisted sites will have the chance to pitch their ideas to the airports bosses in a bid to reach the final selection.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said, if either of the sites are successful, the project will bring "huge benefits to industry and business" in Northern Ireland.

"Having a centrally located hub will open up new markets and reduce transportation costs, which is good news for business," she added.

"I want to congratulate both GRAHAM at the Michelin Site and MJM Marine at Ballykelly on being shortlisted for this pioneering infrastructure project.

"I look forward to seeing the delivery of Heathrow's expansion plans so that Northern Ireland can boast of increased connectivity as a result of further, forward thinking investment."

Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow's Executive Director for Expansion, said logistics hubs are key to ensuring the project "delivers for every corner of the UK".

"This innovative approach will be more cost effective, efficient and sustainable, helping to unlock much needed capacity quickly and responsibly," she said.

“Logistics hubs are also integral to harnessing the skills the UK needs post-Brexit. We are working with other major infrastructure projects to see if they might also benefit from these hubs, creating a bright, new future for the UK’s construction sector.

"One in which we’re better utilising new technology and off-site techniques to spread the benefits of major projects like expansion nationwide.”

Belfast Telegraph