British Steel

The company will provide communities with details of its £1.25bn decarbonisation plan

British Steel, a steel company owned by China’s Jingye Group, has announced a series of consultations on plans to close its blast furnaces in Scunthorpe, the BBC reports.

The company’s management said that the £1.25 billion decarbonization plan would ensure zero-emission steel production «for decades to come» but promised to listen to the views of communities, with dates for the consultations already announced for December.

At the same time, the Community steelworkers’ union has warned British Steel that it will not agree to forced layoffs. Earlier, it was noted that if the announced plans are implemented, 1.5-2 thousand jobs could be lost, mainly at the Scunthorpe plant.

British Steel has begun preliminary negotiations with labor representatives and has also agreed to have its proposals reviewed by an external trade union specialist.

Earlier, British Steel CEO and President Xijun Cao said that the company had been actively working with the public and private sectors to understand the possibility of producing zero-emission steel in blast furnaces, but the analysis showed that it was not viable. The steelmaker now wants to consult with communities to provide them with a detailed look at the green transition proposals.

The feedback received during the consultation will be used to shape any future planning applications, said Xijun Cao.

In November 2023, British Steel unveiled its ambitious decarbonization plan, which includes the replacement of blast furnaces with two electric arc furnaces (EAFs) to be built at its Scunthorpe and Teesside sites. The proposal must be approved by the UK government and requires state support. The new furnaces could be commissioned by the end of 2025 and will replace the outdated production facilities in Scunthorpe.