The steel industry is pivotal to the UK's economic potential.
09 Oct 2023

Why the UK needs a strong steel sector

Trade body UK Steel has published a new report highlighting how the industry is the bedrock for Britain’s supply chains, and why it is central to the nation’s economic potential and resilience at a time of geopolitical turbulence.

‘Why the UK needs a strong steel sector’ also says the UK ‘deserves to have a strong, national industry making products for infrastructure, homes, energy and transport across the nation instead of importing high-emissions steel.’ 

The report states: “We need more steel, not less, in our Net Zero future. The UK is in a prime position to lead green steelmaking, having one of the largest scrap resources in the world and a leader in renewable energy. Now is the time to be bold and seize the opportunity to lead the world by building a Net Zero steel sector.”

It sets out why:

  • Steel is central to meeting the UK’s decarbonisation objectives, from reducing the emissions of the material itself to its use in energy infrastructure and technologies that will enable a Net Zero economy. A meaningful decarbonisation strategy must clearly focus on consumption emissions, not just emissions from steel produced domestically.
  • Increased reliance on steel imports could lead to higher emissions if imported steel is produced in a more carbon-intensive steel plant. UK steel production sites are less carbon-intensive than the global average for both blast furnace and electric arc furnace steelmaking, and therefore import increases will likely lead to a rise in UK greenhouse gas emissions.

British Steel Chief Commercial & Procurement Officer Allan Bell says: “As one of the leading steel manufacturers in Europe, we welcome this report. It is vital to put the steel industry front and centre of the drive toward decarbonisation and a sustainable economic future.

“Britain needs a secure supply of high-quality steel for decades to come. Our steel is vital to major construction projects across the UK and to our rail network. We directly provide thousands of highly skilled and well-paid jobs while an estimated 19,000 people are employed in our supply chain.

“Our owners, Jingye Group, has already invested £330 million in capital projects at British Steel in three years and is committed to transforming our business with further planned investments providing the government can give assurances of a competitive landscape for energy and carbon.

“Our decarbonisation strategy is underpinned by our Low-Carbon Roadmap which will help secure low embedded carbon steelmaking in the UK. However, we need the British government to adopt the correct policies and provide the necessary support to back our drive to become a clean, green, and successful company. Governments in the countries where our major competitors operate have adopted such policies and the longer, we wait for their implementation in the UK, the more impact this will have on our competitiveness and the country's ability to meet its carbon objectives.

“British Steel is committed to working with the government and to making the home-made steel Britain needs for generations to come.”

You can read the report here.