Port Talbot steel announcement – Friends of the Earth reaction
Published: 19 Jan 2024
Commenting on Tata Steel’s decision to close down its coal-fired blast furnaces, Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner, said:
“This is a huge blow to workers and the local community.
“The world is moving towards green steel production, but the UK government’s lack of a forward-thinking Industrial Strategy has left workers high and dry.
“Port Talbot should be at the forefront of a transition to clean steel – with investment in green hydrogen to power virgin steel manufacturing, as well as electric arc furnaces. This would help protect jobs, support homegrown steel production, and boost the UK’s switch to a green economy.
“The steel industry’s shift away from coal also shows the folly of the government’s decision, just over a year ago, to approve a new mine in Cumbria – in part to provide coal for UK steel.
“Ministers must end their support for this polluting and unnecessary coal mine - and put areas like West Cumbria and Port Talbot at the heart of the cleaner future we urgently need.”
Haf Elgar, director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, said:
“This is devastating news for the people of Port Talbot. The move to green steel should be done fairly, to secure Port Talbot’s future, create long-term, sustainable jobs and put areas like this at the forefront of the transition to a clean economy.”
Kathy Oakwood, coordinator of Friends of the Earth in Neath Port Talbot said she wanted to see greener steelmaking for the planet's sake, but that it was important to protect jobs in the community:
In her interview with the BBC, she said, "We're in a transition. Life is never ideal and we have to do it as manageably as we can with as little impact for families on the ground." Read more