Scotland business

Dalzell and Clydebridge steel plants to make metal for wind turbine towers

Tata Steel plant in Motherwell Image copyright PA
Image caption Tata Steel announced plans to mothball its sites in Motherwell and Cambuslang last October

Two Lanarkshire steel plants which were mothballed last October are to resume production with a contract to produce heavy-duty steel for wind towers.

Liberty House has announced that the former Tata plants at Dalzell and Clydebridge, which are set to resume production in September, will make the steel plate needed for the towers.

Liberty House started recruiting staff at the Scottish plants last week.

The site where the towers will be built has not yet been announced.

Liberty House bought the steel tower production equipment from Mabey Bridge Renewables at Chepstow, South Wales. which closed down last year.

The equipment makes towers of up to 56m (184ft) tall x 5m (16ft) diameter for onshore wind installations but Liberty plans to upgrade it to make 110m (361ft) x 10m (33ft) towers for the growing offshore market.

Towers and cross sections for the National Grid's new 35m (115ft) tall T-Pylons, expected to become a common feature across Britain, will also be made.

Liberty House's executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta said: "We are very excited about this new opportunity. It is an excellent example of how we are integrating our steel production and manufacturing supply chain to create a robust industrial eco-system.

"It is particularly appropriate that this new business will supply the renewable energy market in view of our own Greensteel strategy, which involves investing in green energy as the basis of a competitive UK steel and engineering industry."

He added: "Our aim is to create a world-class centre for the production of tubular towers and other large-scale steel fabrication.

"Most of these products are currently imported, so there is great potential to substitute this with our own production of best-in-class and competitive British towers, building sustained value and creating skilled jobs in a growth sector."

Apprentice opportunities

Liberty said it hoped to re-employ some ex-Tata employees who lost their jobs when the Socttish plants were mothballed by Tata last October.

However, applications are also being encouraged from those looking to join the steel industry for the first time.

Liberty said it planned to offer apprenticeship opportunities, including modern apprenticeships in engineering, finance and commercial planning.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the steelworker's union Community, said it was a sign that Scotland's steel industry could have a bright future, but warned hundreds of steel workers had been out of work for months.

He said: "We now need to see commitments from Liberty that staff will receive a fair wage for their work and from the Scottish government that they will finally bring forward an industrial strategy that supports and promotes our steel industry for the long term."

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "Following this week's announcement of over 100 new jobs at Nigg on the Cromarty Firth to support the construction of an offshore wind farm, it's great to hear of the potential for even more jobs linked to renewables.

"This news underscores the type of jobs benefits that will come as the UK transitions to a zero-carbon economy."

The Scottish government set up a steel task force after Tata announced it was mothballing the plants in Motherwell and Cambuslang.

The government later bought the mills and immediately sold them to Liberty.

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