Tata Steel invests millions to cut carbon emissions from its Corby factory

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Graham Stothard

Britain's biggest steel maker is investing millions of pounds to reduce CO2 emissions from one of its factories.

Tata Steel's tube-making factory in Corby in Northamptonshire is undergoing a £30m redevelopment.

Part of that will include a £5m investment in new electric induction furnaces - replacing the current gas-powered facilities - which Tata claims could prevent at least 2,000 tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere every year.

The company wants it to become the first net-zero carbon steel site in the country.

The furnaces that heat the steel tubes are currently gas-powered. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"What we're moving towards is a technology that we have used for the last 42 years, and that's electric induction units," said Rob Sandercock, an environmental specialist for the company.

"That's using electricity, reducing our scope on emissions, stop polluting the atmosphere directly from our site, and move to electric induction units that will use less National Grid electricity and potentially renewable electricity in the future."

The steel making industry has been synonymous with Corby for over 100 years.

Tata said the multi-million pound investment proved its commitment to the town but it comes at a tough time for the industry.

The firm has warned it may have to shut down one of its blast furnaces in Wales unless the government helps with its move to so-called "green" - or more environmentally friendly - steel.

That could mean thousands of job losses.

Tata steelworks in Corby produce 260,000 tonnes of steel piping a year but they want that to expand to 300,000 tonnes. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In 2012, the plant at Corby saw more than 100 people made redundant.

Bosses said there was no risk of redundancies due to this redevelopment.

"It is a huge reassurance and it isn't just words," works manager Gary Blackman told ITV News Anglia.

"People see new facilities like this springing up. It isn't rhetoric. It isn't words. It's real money being invested in the town that effectively exists because of the steelmaking industry."

Tata say the huge investment proves their commitment to Corby and its staff. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The extraction of iron ore from sites near Corby was written about in the Domesday Book, but the 20th century saw the steel industry boom and bust.

In Corby, the people from the town shape the steel as much as the steel has shaped the town.

"It's changed massively," process manager Stephen Duncan said. "Thirty-four years ago, when I came in here, the first thing people said was 'What are you doing here? We're closing...'

"But I've been here 34 years now."

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