Home » Thousands of jobs at risk as British Steel make major move to shut blast furnace

Thousands of jobs at risk as British Steel make major move to shut blast furnace

Thousands of jobs could be at risk after councillors approved planning permission for an electric arc furnace at British Steel in Scunthorpe.

The move, which could reduce the UK’s ability to produce virgin steel, was made by North Lincolnshire Council earlier this week. This was in response to plans by British Steel to swap out it is coke blast furnaces.

The difference between the two is that electric arc furnaces can be run on zero-carbon electricity and are used to create new steel out of scrap steel.

Whilst the plans have been approved, there are concerns by unions that the decision by British Steel could see the loss of 2,000 jobs.

This isn’t the first time British Steel has made the decision to swap out its furnaces. Earlier this year, North Lincolnshire Council granted planning permission at their Teesside site.

In a statement, the leader of North Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Rob Waltham said: “The council’s planning committee has approved the application for British Steel to build an electric arc furnace on its site in Scunthorpe. The application met local and national planning policies.

“The council, along with local MPs, will continue to work with the Government to protect jobs at the steelworks. Work to attract green jobs to the 300 acres of surplus land at the steelworks continues.

“Master planning is underway to attract high-paid and high-skilled jobs to the area – using new technologies to create green industry.”

Mr Waltham added that there was “an opportunity to create something new, attracting innovative technology companies here to Scunthorpe”.

British Steel’s president Xijun Cao added that it was “imperative” that “decisive action” was taken to “ensure a sustainable future for British Steel”.

Despite this, some people are outraged at the possibility of a community and industry suffering severe job losses. Speaking to GB News, one woman said: “It’s very difficult, particularly at this time of year, losing jobs, it’s hard. It’s another pile of rubbish on top of what we’ve got in the country at the moment.”

Another woman added: “They can spend millions on these people coming from abroad, putting them up in hotels, which cost us, the taxpayer, millions doesn’t it, and yet they can’t save our own people for their own jobs.”