Tata Steel announcement follow-up: UK Steel issues electric arc furnace capability briefing

22 January 2024

Tata Steel UK has announced proposals to restructure its UK business as it transitions to green electric arc furnace steelmaking, responding to market demands for lower-emission steel and meeting national Net Zero targets. 

After public discussions on the switch to EAF, UK Steel’s briefing points to the innovations in the United States showing that EAFs can produce a vast range of steel products through the careful management of the raw material mix. In the UK, EAFs are already supplying highly specialised steel for aerospace and defence applications.

The trade association also published the Steel Scrap: A Strategic Raw Material for Net Zero Steel report in December 2023 recommending that the domestic supply of 11 million tonnes of steel scrap in the UK must be capitalised on. The report recommends that sorting and processing technology must be invested in to meet national demand for future Electric Arc Furnaces. 

UK Steel Director General, Gareth Stace, said:   

“Tata Steel’s announcement demonstrates the difficulty of operating in such a challenging steel market, with low steel demand, softening prices, and increasing costs. Decades of an uncompetitive business landscape have led to a lack of historical capital investment. Ageing assets at the end of their life means some companies must make impossible choices ahead of significant investment in green steelmaking. 

“Electric Arc Furnaces can produce a vast range of steel products, and existing EAF steelmakers in the UK are already producing highly specialised steel for aerospace and defence applications. The UK needs a modern and robust domestic steel sector to build a strong, resilient, low-carbon economy, but the industry faces steep challenges on the path to complete decarbonisation in little more than a decade. 

“Over the next few years, the sector will accelerate innovation and collaborate with our varied customer base to supply green steel via Electric Arc Furnace steelmaking, using the abundance of scrap steel that the UK generates each year. Government must continue its pledge to significantly support the UK steel sector. It is time to accelerate commitments to deliver competitive electricity prices, grow green public procurement of steel, and ensure a trade remedies regime that backs British business.”


Notes UK Steel’s briefing on the product ranges of Electric Arc Furnace is available here.

The Steel Scrap: A Strategic Raw Material for Net Zero Steel report is available here.

About UK Steel: UK Steel is the trade association for the UK steel industry. It represents all the country’s steelmakers and most downstream steel processors.

The UK steel sector:   

  • Produces 6Mt of crude steel a year, around 70% of the UK’s annual requirement (annual demand of 8.9Mt) 
  • Employs 39,800 people directly in the UK and supports a further 50,000 in supply chains 
  • The median steel sector salary is £39,637, 43% higher than the UK national median and 56% higher than the regional median in Wales, and Yorkshire & Humberside, where its jobs are concentrated 
  • Directly contributes £2.9 billion to UK GDP and supports a further £3.8 billion 
  • Directly contributes £4 billion to the UK’s balance of trade 
  • 96% of steel used in construction and infrastructure in the UK is recovered and recycled to be used again and again

For further information about the steel industry, please see the press pack, Why the UK needs a strong steel sector or the 2023 UK Steel Key Statistics report.