Domestic manufacturers’ trade body UK Steel is launching a charter to promote sustainable British steel in construction projects following fears over the quality of imported materials. The campaign has been welcomed by MPs during a debate on the future of the steel industry in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon. The debate follows a series of scares about the quality of steel rebar imported from China.
By signing up to The Charter for British Sustainable Steel organisations will support an industry with sales totalling around £9.5bn in 2013 and which contributed £2.4bn to the UK’s balance of trade.
The British steel industry employs approximately 20,000 people and additionally supports countless domestic businesses and employees in the supply chain, with the associated knock on benefits for the national economy generated by tax revenues.
The Charter will require vendors to be accredited to BES 6001, a respected industry standard. BES 6001 validation means that a manufacturer’s product has been produced in a safe, responsible and environmentally friendly way.
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable said a new probe has been launched into Chinese rebar standards after an investigation last year revealed no problems. Cable said: “The testing of steel is carried out by the UK Certification Authority for Reinforcing Steel, which is an industry body not a Government body. It does the testing and tracing.”
Ian Rodgers, Director of UK Steel, said: “British made steel is a quality product, manufactured to the highest standards. I think it’s important that where government or its agencies are procuring construction projects for example, they should be able to assure taxpayers that their money is being spent on quality products. Those who sign up to this voluntary Charter are helping support the use of high quality and responsibly produced British steel. The UK steel sector is critical to the future of UK manufacturing and the wider economy, and we should be proud to promote the use of high quality British steel.”