Secretary of State Kemi Badenoch at British Steel's Rail operations in Scunthorpe today.
09 May 2024

Secretary of State Kemi Badenoch visits British Steel as decarbonisation talks continue

British Steel, the UK’s only manufacturer of rail, today showcased its operations to Secretary of State Kemi Badenoch as talks continue with the UK Government about the company’s £1.25-billion decarbonisation plan.

The Secretary of State for Business and Trade visited the business’s headquarters in Scunthorpe where the overwhelming majority of Britain’s rail tracks are made.

It is also where the company is proposing to build one of 2 electric arc furnaces (EAFs) as it undertakes the biggest transformation in its history on the road to net zero.

British Steel President and CEO Xijun Cao said: “We were delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to British Steel and to reiterate the vital importance of safeguarding the future of steelmaking in this country.

“Our world-class rails help transport people and goods throughout the UK, forming a critical part of Britain’s infrastructure. We will shortly open a new £10-million rail storage facility at our Scunthorpe site, and we’re unique in delivering 216-metre lengths of rail for installation in Britain’s railways – a service that reduces delays for rail users caused by maintenance.

“We’re also the UK’s only manufacturer of constructional steel, and a leading supplier of wire rod, special profiles and semi-finished steel – products that all keep Britain on the go. It is therefore imperative that if Britain wants to secure its sovereign steelmaking capability, the UK Government supports our plans to transform into a clean, green and sustainable business.”

Detailed studies show electrification would enable British Steel to continue making the products its customers require and it has recently received planning permission to build EAFs in Scunthorpe and Teesside.

Significant preparation works, including environmental and technical studies, and equipment selection, are underway to ensure the company’s ambitious proposals can be delivered at the earliest opportunity while discussions with the UK Government continue.

British Steel has started preliminary talks with trade unions about electrification and has promised to support employees affected by its decarbonisation plans.

Xijun said: “We are confident our proposals, which are subject to appropriate support from the UK Government including the adoption of the correct policies and frameworks, will help secure the low-embedded carbon steelmaking the UK requires now and for decades to come.

“We are committed to working with the UK Government and need to reach an agreement quickly so we can achieve our ambitious goals, secure thousands of jobs and keep making the steel Britain needs for generations to come.”

UPDATE: The Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch also visited our Teesside operations on Friday 10 May 2024.