Go ahead given for British Steel electric arc furnace

British Steel has been granted planning permission to build an Electric Arc Furnace at its Scunthorpe headquarters.

The company’s application was approved by North Lincolnshire Council. Trade union bosses have previously warned the new replacement furnace could lead to the loss of up to 2,000 jobs in Northern Lincolnshire, as British Steel is planning to shut its existing blast furnaces.

Electric arc furnaces can repurpose scrap steel using power generated by renewables. But the end product is not the same grade of steel and is not suitable for all industrial uses.

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

Its application to build another Electric Arc Furnace (EAF), at its Teesside site, was recently approved by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

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

British Steel president and CEO 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 underway to ensure the company’s proposals can be delivered at the earliest opportunity while discussions with the UK Government continue.

Both proposed EAFs would replace the iron and steelmaking operations at British Steel’s Scunthorpe site which are responsible for the majority of its CO2 emissions.