HS2 steel will be at least 95% British-made, indicates Transport Secretary

HS2 steel will be at least 95% British-made, indicates Transport Secretary

At least 95% of the steel used in the construction of HS2 will be British-made, the transport secretary has signalled.

Chris Grayling confirmed the majority of the route for the proposed £55.7 billion high speed railway earlier this week.

Labour's Nic Dakin who represents Scunthorpe, a major hub for UK steel production, said during transport questions in the Commons: "I very much welcome the minister's very positive comments about the quality of British steel and that 95% of steel in rail is UK steel.

"Does he believe that that record will be matched with the steel used for HS2?"

Grayling replied: "Absolutely, and not just the steel industry.

"My view is that HS2 is a great engineering project for the United Kingdom.

"I was pleased in the first set of contracts that we announced this week of a substantial British presence.

"I've been very clear that those firms that hope to participate in this project should expect to leave a skills footprint and an expertise footprint behind in the United Kingdom.

"Those who fail to do so should not expect to find themselves at the front of the queue when it comes to contracting."

Phase 1 of HS2 is due to open in December 2026 and it will see trains travel between London and Birmingham before proceeding from Birmingham on to the existing West Coast Main Line.

A second Y-shaped phase will then open in two stages with phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe due to launch in 2027.

Phase 2b, from Crewe to Manchester and from the West Midlands to Leeds, South Yorkshire and the East Midlands, will open in 2033.

The news was welcomed by British Steel, the steel manufacturer founded this year from assets acquired from Tata Steel Europe by Greybull Capital.

Managing director Peter Smith told BQ: “We welcome today’s positive comments from Mr Grayling about UK steel and HS2.

“We are in regular dialogue with the government over a number of matters and one of these is HS2.

"We believe it has the potential to make a huge difference to the transport and economy of this country and British Steel would be proud to play a significant role in this."

He added: “The British Steel name is synonymous with high-quality products and we know we have the ability to meet the exacting demands for rail, and customer service, HS2 requires.

"We have built our reputation over many years and I am proud to say we have already developed and delivered high-speed line projects – like HS2 - across Europe.

"Our highly-skilled employees make rail of the finest quality and, testament to their ability, is the fact much of the new track laid by Network Rail in this country is manufactured by them.

“We would expect to be a key supplier to HS2. We have the capacity and capability to deliver all the rail for this project.

"Our product portfolio in sections and rods should also be key in delivering the stations, bridges and catenaries that are also central elements of the programme.”