The decision follows a Teesside approval. Credit: British Steel

British Steel secures £1.25bn local go-ahead

The Chinese-owned firm has been granted planning permission to build an electric arc furnace at its Scunthorpe headquarters, with sign-off from Whitehall the next step.

North Lincolnshire Council has given its approval for the project, a key part in a decarbonisation programme for BS, following a detailed consultation period.

The application to build another electric arc furnace at its Teesside site was recently approved by Redcar & Cleveland Council.

The manufacturer’s proposed £1.25bn transformation – its biggest in more than a century of steelmaking, it said – is subject to appropriate support from the UK government.

Jingye Group, China’s largest steelmaker, acquired British Steel in 2020.

British Steel president and chief executive Xijun Cao said: “We’re extremely pleased to have received planning permissions to build Electric Arc Furnaces at our Scunthorpe and Teesside sites. It is a significant step forward in our journey to net zero and we thank everyone who has supported our plans.

“The proposed installation of EAFs in Scunthorpe and Teesside is central to our journey to a green future as they would help us reduce emissions of CO2 by more than 75%. However, it is crucial we now secure the backing of the UK Government.

“Our owner, Jingye, is committed to the unprecedented investment decarbonisation requires and our desire to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint, coupled with challenging market conditions, means it is imperative swift and decisive action is taken to ensure a sustainable future for British Steel.

“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.”

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

Both proposed EAFs would replace the aging iron and steelmaking operations at British Steel’s Scunthorpe site which are responsible for the vast majority of its CO2 emissions. The company proposes maintaining current operations until a transition to electric arc steelmaking.

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 will help secure the low-embedded carbon steelmaking the UK requires now and for decades to come.”

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