Midland Lead

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Midland Lead's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Midland Lead is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Boudewijn Tuinenburg,
managing director
At Midland Lead, we are proud of our 35
years of lead sheet manufacturing expertise
Midland Lead has been producing lead sheet for over 35
years. They are a family-owned company with a strong
manufacturing heritage, and now create products
for both British and global construction from recycled lead.
According to managing director Boudewijn Tuinenburg, the key
to their success and longevity is a highly skilled workforce. They
are the only UK manufacturer offering machine-cast, rolled and
sand-cast lead, and they take pride in combining traditional
craftsmanship with a 21st-century technology-led approach.
Lead is an extremely environmentally friendly material. In sheet form, lead can be
handled safely, is totally recyclable and, in our case, is guaranteed for 60 years.
It can even last up to between 100 and 200 years, if fitted correctly, before it
needs to be removed and recycled again. By comparison, lead alternatives are only
guaranteed for ten years and are currently not recyclable.
Lead has one of the highest recycling rates in the world, higher even than glass or
newspaper, and is the most recycled metal ahead of aluminium, copper or zinc. We
are passionate about minimising the pressure on our Earth’s natural resources – our
lead is sustainable. We are proud of our legacy and, importantly, the future of lead.
Increasing efficiency – partnership with Cranfield University
Keen to understand the science within this raw material, we are three years into a
knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) between Midland Lead and the Sustainable
Manufacturing Systems Centre (SMSC) at Cranfield University. Thispartnership
»Managing director:
»Established in 1983
»Based in Swadlincote,
»Services: Manufacture of
machine-cast lead and sand-
cast lead
»No. of employees: 50
»Turnover: £30 million
»Produces 15,000 tonnes of
lead a year
»ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001
Midland Lead
Highlighting best practice
involves extensive research and
development of products and
processes. We have run several
projects focusing on reduction in
energy consumption and continuous
improvements in manufacturing.
Professor Mark Jolly, head of SMSC
at Cranfield University, said: “Midland
Lead have taken on board the
challenge of getting to a fundamental
understanding of the process of direct
machine casting of lead sheet by
engaging academics and supporting
research studies. The research they
are supporting will ensure that they
will have the most energy-efficient
process with a lower CO2 footprint
than any competing process for lead
sheet production across all the sectors
to which they supply. We at Cranfield
have found the company open and
willing to take on board changes and
to really drive them through.”
Our academic researcher presented
highlights of these studies at the
Minerals, Metals & Materials Society’s
(TMS) annual meeting in Phoenix,
Arizona, and early indicators confirm
that our process is more efficient
compared to others of its kind. As we
are keen to develop innovative ways
to further increase our efficiency, and
to be recognised as a market leader in
high-quality lead manufacturing, we
are now running further experiments
and models to identify further
improvement opportunities.
Green credentials
The construction sector has a huge
impact on the environment. It is an
intensive energy user, the largest
consumer of materials in the UK
and the largest producer of waste.
Despite efforts to reduce landfill waste,
little is being recycled or reused. We
strongly advocate the sourcing of
recyclable products, and our lead is a
Throughout the supply chain,
by reducing waste disposal and
CO2 emissions while also creating
sustainable design and developments,
the use and reuse of lead will set
a new and improved standard for
future construction – where recycled,
sustainable materials will be an
automatic choice.
Supporting skills and diversity
We are also mindful of the future skills
our industry needs, as the National
Federation of Roofing Contractors’
(NFRC) latest report confirms the skills
shortage in the roofing sector will
reach an all-time high within ten years.
We supply lead sheet free of charge
to a number of colleges in the UK, as
well as additional tools, sealants and
patination oil to support the real-world
learning of future roofers. We invite
students to our facility so that they
can see first-hand how our lead is
manufactured while educating them
about best practice in handling lead,
compliance with health and safety, and
product-specific guidelines. Nothing
is wasted; once colleges have finished
with the lead, they return it to us and
it is recycled.
This collaboration is helping to build a
strong future for the industry and for
the application of sustainable products,
highlighting the durability and
dependable nature of lead for the next
generation. Chris Messenger, from
Leeds College of Building, considers
Proud to promote
diversity within the
construction industry
– our Midland Lead
female team
We are keen
to develop
ways to
increase our
We supply lead products to be
used as:
»Weatherproofing material
»Radiation protection in the
medical and research sector
»Ballast in the marine and
other race sport industries
»Radiation protection for
security screening
»Counterbalance in heavy
it a vital partnership: “Midland Lead
takes you on a first-class journey of the
lead manufacturing process from plant
to site. It makes students really get to
grips with using such a long-lasting
material. Starting these conversations
early on is a fantastic thing for colleges
to be able to do; it informs their
learning and fully prepares them for
the world of work.”
Our people
We take a keen interest in the
wellbeing, safety and health of our
workforce. We employ a considerable
number of long-term and returning
staff, demonstrating impressive
levels of employee engagement. We
recognise, however, that improvement
is always possible, and ensuring we
have the right people in the right place
at the right time has enabled us to
navigate the recent recession.
At the end of 2015, we reviewed
how we could improve in this regard.
With the support of ACAS, staff
participated in an open and honest
evaluation process of what they like,
didn’t like and what would make life
easier working at Midland Lead. Most
importantly, we listened to their views;
training opportunities have increased,
new shower and canteen facilities
were installed, and a regular half-yearly
business update and progress report
has been implemented. We repeated
this exercise with ACAS in 2018,
recognising the cycle of continuous
improvement and thus highlighting
specific areas to support our future
business growth.
Customer experience
Excellence in our customer journey is
of paramount importance to us. For
over 35 years we have worked hard
to provide our customers with exactly
what they need in numerous sectors.
Our orders are predominantly delivered
within two to three days, and wholly
customer-specific. By understanding
our customers’ individual business
requirements, we can deliver a
personal service using the latest CRM
system and by working closely with our
logistics partner.
Lee Sharland, managing director of
Sharland Roofing, agrees: “Midland
Lead’s range is very good, very user-
friendly. They are very informative;
the website and all of the literature
you get from Midland is great. They
have regular bulletins and offers.
They are far and away better than the
Quality customer service helps us to
develop new business and improve
sales, but also aids employee
satisfaction and motivation. We have
invested heavily in the technology
to understand clients’ requirements
and expectations. After working with
research experts to integrate the
latest thinking concerning customer
focus, we can conclude that the future
Excellence in our
journey is of
importance to
us. For over 35
years we have
worked hard to
provide our
customers with
exactly what
they need
»Our lead is manufactured from
100 per cent recycled material.
»Unlike most materials, lead can be
recycled over and over again.
»Lead is the most recycled
common metal in the world.
»Lead has a higher recycling rate
than newspaper and glass.
Our lead is made of 100 per cent recycled
material and has a 60-year guarantee


This article was sponsored by Midland Lead. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy