MPs discuss future of steel in UK – Friends of the Earth comment

Speaking ahead of today’s House of Commons debate on protecting steel in the UK, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner, Tony Bosworth, said:

“The UK government’s failure to develop a green industrial strategy is a huge contributor to the steel industry crisis – and workers and local communities are now paying a heavy price through devastating job losses.

“Our steel industry must change to remain competitive, and ministers must do more to help them. Steel plants across Europe are already investing in clean production, in many cases with government support – the German government has pledged billions of Euros to support the decarbonisation of its steel industry.

“The UK government’s strategy is completely inconsistent: why did ministers approve a new mine in Cumbria to provide coal for the UK steel industry for decades to come only months before offering half a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money to Tata Steel to help them move away from coal?

“We need a forward-thinking government to manage the fair transition to a zero-carbon future, support workers, create long-term jobs and put the UK at the forefront of a green industrial revolution.”

Friends of the Earth is calling for:

  • More government investment in transforming the UK steel industry, including green hydrogen to power virgin steel manufacturing as well as electric arc furnaces, in a plan agreed with the industry and unions. This would help protect jobs, support homegrown steel production, and boost the UK’s switch to a green economy.
  • A green industrial strategy that puts areas like Port Talbot and West Cumbria at the heart of the cleaner future we urgently need, including support for workers to transition to jobs in the new green economy.