The UK Government has announced new regulations under the Public Procurement Notice (PPN) for steel, aimed at increasing the use of British-made steel in publicly-funded projects.
The updated regulations require reporting on the origin of steel used in public projects to raise awareness of British-made, ‘melted and poured’ steel. This will help to track the source of steel products from sanctioned countries and reduce the use of imported steel that is processed through third countries.
Using British-made steel in public projects has several advantages, including improving national resilience, creating jobs, and reducing environmental impact. Producing steel in the UK to high British standards is also more carbon-efficient than importing it from other countries like China.
Previously, the origin of steel was not considered in public procurement decisions as it sits two or three tiers down the supply chain and does not directly bid into any procurement process. However, the revised PPN is expected to increase the uptake of UK-made steel in publicly-funded projects. In 2020/21, only £268m of UK-made steel was used in public projects in the United Kingdom, while imported steel, including from Russia, made up the rest.
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.”