03 October 2023
Corporate News

Why the UK needs a strong steel sector

Port Talbot steelworks

"The UK steel sector could be the first globally to decarbonise, with the right parameters in place," says a new report from trade organisation, UK Steel.

 

Introducing the report on its website this week, UK Steel says: 

"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."

 

Steel is a key driver of economic growth and supply chain resilience

Steel is a foundation industry, literally the building block of our society, feeding into everything from construction to transport, critical national infrastructure, defence, energy pipelines, wind turbines, household goods, food packaging, and medical, industrial and agricultural equipment. Steel is the bedrock of the UK’s supply chains and is fundamental to the future of the UK economy, our economic resilience and national security. The industry supports thousands of jobs and communities both directly and indirectly along the supply chain, particularly in Wales and the North East of England.

Steel is central to the UK’s decarbonisation journey

Steel is also central to any ambition to decarbonise the UK economy – a meaningful decarbonisation, not through deindustrialisation and offshoring emissions, but by actually taking responsibility for the emissions of our steel consumption. With its infinite recyclability, steel is an essential component of a circular economy, generating thousands of green jobs and powering the decarbonisation of other sectors too. It is used in every single technology that a green economy relies on, from wind turbines and solar panels to electric vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure.

The UK is in a prime position to lead green steelmaking as one of the
largest scrap suppliers in the world

The UK is in a prime position to lead the world on Net Zero steel and grow the green economy by tapping into its strengths and resources. Not only is the UK already leading the way on renewable energy and boasting world-class research and innovation, but it also has abundant access to a critical resource, steel scrap, which has a central role to play in the steel sector’s decarbonisation journey. In addition to the obvious widespread economic and environmental benefits of steelmaking in the UK, access to a key raw material further enhances the business case for UK steel production as we transition to increasingly electric scrap-based processes.

 

UK Steel report

 

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