We must move our UK steelmaking industry away from primary production towards recycled steel made with sustainable power. This green steel model is the only future compatible with our goals for zero emissions, and the UK with its strong climate policy, mature stocks of steel and great history of innovation in materials science and processing is perfectly placed to be world-leading with a re-thought and sustainable steel industry. Not only will this create long-term green jobs, it will lead to world-leading exportable skills and technologies and allow us to transform the highly valuable scrap that we currently export at low value, but should be nurturing as a strategic asset. With today’s grid we can do this with less than half the emissions of making steel with iron ore and with more renewable power in future this could drop much further.
Investment in research and development is also vital if we are to cement the technological advantage of leading the world in up-cycling scrap steel. Half of US demand for steel is already met by internal recycling, and in the UK we could increase this figure by developing the technologies that allow us to deliver the highest grades of steel, economically, from our own scrap.
This will not happen overnight, but the process has already begun. With private investment and government support, our steelmaking industry can once again lead the world and thrive at the same time.