The UK Government has announced updated regulations as part of the Public Procurement Notice (PPN) for steel that require reporting on the origin of steel in public projects.
This scrutiny should raise the profile of British-made, ‘melted and poured’ steel in procurement for publicly funded projects. This means that imported steel, originating from countries such as Russia, then processed through third countries like Turkey, is not simply re-badged. This helps to track the source of products from sanctioned countries.
The amended PPN should complement existing reasons for bodies to increase their uptake of British ‘melted and poured’ steel in publicly funded projects – including national resilience, job creation and environmental impact. It is far more carbon efficient to produce steel in the UK to high British standards than import it from foreign countries, including China.
Until now, the origin of steel was not considered in public procurement decisions, as steel typically sits two or three tiers down the supply chain and does not directly bid into any procurement process.
Responding to the new regulations, Gareth Stace, Director General, UK Steel said:
“These changes are a direct response to UK Steel and our members pushing for stronger tracking of steel sources. Leaders should think twice about origin of their steel, including sanctioned material. Until now, public infrastructure could have used Russian steel and nobody would even know it. Public projects in the United Kingdom used £640m of steel in 2020/21, only using around £268m of UK-made steel, showing a huge potential for improved domestic uptake if the revised PPN is adhered to.
“We have made it clear to Government that the PPN now needs to encompass more products and categories to truly make it a useful and effective tool.
“In the past, buyers didn’t know where their steel came from. By buying British steel, not only will infrastructure projects easily meet new regulations, but they will also boost British jobs, regional levelling up and national manufacturing security. It just makes sense to buy the steel, for your project, that was made here in the UK.”