Steel Manufacturing in Wales : Ensuring a Sustainable and Prosperous Future

Munday, Max and Turner, Karen (2020) Steel Manufacturing in Wales : Ensuring a Sustainable and Prosperous Future. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. (

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This briefing reviews the current contribution of steel manufacturing to the Welsh economy and considers how new technological opportunities around decarbonising steel production – with potential to service the transitioning economy - might affect this contribution and the pattern of environmental effects connected to the industry. We address a series of factors that might be considered by policymakers in connection with the future evolution of steelmaking in Wales, where around 8,000 (largely full-time) people are currently employed in the sector, with an additional 2,000 or so full-time equivalent jobs in related activities, such as metal casting. However, the issues discussed are relevant to other parts of the UK with important steel manufacturing sectors such as Teesside. We set these in terms of considering the current economic contribution of the industry’s primary steel production with focus on Port Talbot, setting this contribution against the associated point source emissions. This enables consideration of the potential impacts and trade-offs in considering both the domestic impacts of industry change on jobs, incomes and regional unemployment challenges, and increased reliance on imported steel and its associated carbon emissions. We then consider potential options for, and implications of, decarbonising and/or change in the production profile of the Welsh industry, set in the context of potential market opportunities as economies move through the net zero transition.