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 The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister