West Midlands signs UK Steel Charter

West Midlands metro mayor Andy Street has signed the UK Steel Charter, making it the first combined authority to commit to using UK-made steel wherever possible in key regional projects.

The West Midlands is home to at least 15 sites manufacturing, processing and handling steel, including Marcegaglia’s Oldbury site, currently under refurbishment, which produces welded steel tubes.

Marcegaglia UK acquired the Oldbury site in 2021 and is currently undertaking a £32 million ($40m) investment programme. This will create up to 70 more jobs in the West Midlands region, on top of the 175 the company employs. The scheme will bring capacity to manufacture steel products in the UK that are not currently produced domestically, allowing for more UK-made steel to be used in projects of all kinds, UK Steel says in a note sent to Kallanish.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is mounting a 860-tonne order for UK-made steel in the expansion of the Metro Rail for the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill scheme.

“This initiative can help to increase the amount of high-quality steel manufactured in Britain and increase the supply of British made steel contributing to key West Midlands projects,” Street says.

“All major construction and engineering projects both here in the West Midlands and throughout the UK will reap benefits from purchasing steel that is made, processed, and delivered here in Britian,” says UK Steel director general Gareth Stace.

“On top of this, Marcegaglia acquired upstream manufacturing facilities in Sheffield this year. This primary stainless steel making asset is worth several hundreds of millions to the UK economy. The investment in this facility means a return to full capacity of 500,000 tonnes of steel,” comments Marcegaglia UK general manager Nick Haycock.

“The UK has now become the second most important country for the Marcegaglia Group. Producing our steel tubular products here means UK-made steel is supplying national projects like HS2. It is now crucial to create a robust UK industrial strategy to support the competitiveness of the UK steel industry, to preserve and develop production and increase employment, also in view of the export flows requirements,” Haycock adds.

Adam Smith Poland