Jobs hope as council and British Steel announce advanced manufacturing park plans at steelworks

British Steel and North Lincolnshire Council have announced economy-boosting plans for an advanced manufacturing park on part of the steelworks site amid fears for 2,000 jobs at the plant.

Announced on the same day that it was confirmed Scunthorpe‘s blast furnaces would be replaced with an electric arc furnace, the advanced manufacturing park would focus on the creation of green jobs – up to 3,000 of them.

Unions fear the closure of British Steel’s blast furnaces in favour of an electric arc furnace will put up to 2,000 jobs at risk. The steelworks transition is set to be supported by more than £1.2bn investment.

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Government cash will be supporting the creation of the advanced manufacturing park. Globally renowned consultancy firm Arup have begun work on the masterplan for it, focusing too on the design, engineering, and architecture.

“There is a huge opportunity to create something new, attracting innovative technology companies and well-paid jobs here to Scunthorpe on an underdeveloped site of industrial heritage,” said Cllr Rob Waltham, North Lincolnshire Council leader.

“The transition to net zero must be through taking opportunity not managed declined – taking advantage of the green opportunities globally while harnessing our engineering skills and capabilities locally is the future.” The proposal aims to create green jobs in the wider steel and engineering sector.

This includes the harnessing of hydrogen technology, and accessing global markets with new products through the vast port complex locally. Humber Freeport was officially launched in July.

Holly Mumby-Croft, Scunthorpe MP and Vice Chair of the Town Fund Board, said: “It is welcome news for our area that British Steel have committed to work closely with North Lincolnshire Council to develop the future of surplus land on the steelworks site.

An aerial view of British Steel's plant in Scunthorpe.
An aerial view of British Steel’s plant in Scunthorpe.

“There are businesses interested in coming to North Lincolnshire and I will work with the council and British Steel to ensure we make the most of those opportunities. There is a unique expertise in our area, from generations of steelmaking. We need to champion those skills and expand on this with new green and well-paid job opportunities and this plan does just that.”

The planned changes to the steelworks at Scunthorpe follow a similar announcement in September for Port Talbot steelworks, run by Tata Steel. This involved a £1.2bn funding package, £500m from the government, to keep the plant open and producing steel in a more environmentally friendly way. New electric arc furnaces will be installed within three years there in place of two blast furnaces. But this could mean up to 3,000 jobs lost across the UK.

In Scunthorpe, the blast furnaces will remain operational in the meantime, before the expected electric arc furnace installation from late 2025. British Steel has agreed for its proposals to be reviewed by an external specialist on behalf of the trade unions.

British Steel’s Chief Commercial & Procurement Officer, Allan Bell, said: “British Steel and our owners, Jingye, are committed to building a sustainable future for our business and the communities in which we operate.

“Parts of our Scunthorpe site offer excellent development opportunities and we look forward to working in partnership with North Lincolnshire Council to realise this potential.”

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Original artice: https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/all-about/scunthorpe

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