British Ceramic Confederation comment on current gas situation

Last updated: 22/9/21

Energy is normally a third of production costs for many of our members, so they are always concerned about higher energy prices, which could affect their international competitiveness.

Members have options about how to buy energy, which is more complex than for households, and therefore many will not have to pay higher prices immediately.

However, the higher prices go beyond tomorrow and this winter, so all manufacturers will face them at some point.  They will then need to make some tough decisions about their energy purchasing.

If their energy supplier fails, manufacturers will need to get a new contract, which will almost certainly cost much more than with their previous supplier. If this happens, we will need Government to provide immediate support to those members, otherwise companies may have to stop production. This puts so many supply chains at risk from house-building to food and drink and many other sectors.

We are also concerned that the prices reflect the market’s views about the physical availability of gas over the winter. In the event of national supply shortfall our members are near the top of the queue to be disconnected, while households are last. This can happen at very short notice and a forced, quick shutdown runs a high risk of damage to kilns and other equipment.

Energy security is a basic requirement in any country. We need Government to learn from other countries and have a clear plan to ensure manufacturing can continue in the days, weeks and months ahead.

Ceramics sector calls for support to meet challenge of net zero

THE UK’S ceramics sector is urging Government to support the industry with a range of measures to help manufacturers hit challenging net zero targets and combat “eye-watering” energy costs.

Trade association the British Ceramic Confederation, which represents members with 150 manufacturing sites in the UK, is calling for funding, as part of the Government’s comprehensive spending review, to develop and deploy new decarbonisation technology solutions across the whole sector through the creation of a virtual Ceramics Sustainability Hub.

Based in Stoke-on-Trent, the Hub would coordinate the development of a broad range of technologies, including: fuel switching from fossil fuels to hydrogen, bioenergy and electricity; Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) to remove emissions from processes and fuels; and improved energy efficiency. These could be rolled out across the ceramics sector and act as a catalyst for further investment across the supply chain.

The Government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy requires emissions to reduce by at least two-thirds by 2035 and by at least 90 per cent by 2050 compared with 2018 levels.

Ceramics are fired at high temperatures, usually above 1000oC, with typically up to a third of production costs being energy and carbon in many processes. The sector supplies a diverse range of customers, with construction, particularly housing, being the largest.

Almost all of the British Ceramic Confederation’s members’ 150 manufacturing sites are located away from the Government’s designated hydrogen and CCUS industrial clusters. And with typical kiln operating lifetimes of 25 to 40 years, companies need access to low carbon compatible infrastructure and equipment before supporting policy frameworks are in place, by 2025 at the latest, to be able to decarbonise by 2050.

Chief executive Dr Laura Cohen said: “To switch from firing with natural gas we need to move to hydrogen, bioenergy or electricity. We need policy interventions now for off-cluster manufacturers to remain internationally competitive over this extended period until options are widely available, particularly as most of our members are paying an eye-watering £130/MWh which makes electrification uneconomic.

“Given the scale of the challenge we need much more government funding and supportive policies to work in partnership as we develop and implement decarbonisation technologies for these off-cluster sites. The whole sector has agreed to work collectively as this is too expensive, risky and complex for individual companies to fund.”

Confederation President Edward Naylor, who is CEO of Barnsley-based clay pipe manufacturer Naylor Industries, added: “With the right support, the UK ceramics sector and its supply chain has the potential to become a global leader in low-carbon, sustainable manufacturing solutions.”

James Roper, sales and marketing director of BCC member company Churchill China plc, said: “The establishment of a local Sustainability Hub would be an important part of assisting the UK tableware and wider ceramics industries in moving towards a low carbon environment over the coming years. It would also help to maintain the position of the UK as a producer of world class ceramics delivering a high level of technical excellence.”

Job Advertisement – Communications Manager (Part-time, 25 hours per week)

The British Ceramic Confederation is a national trade association representing the collective interests of all sectors of ceramic manufacturing in the United Kingdom. We safeguard the industry’s prosperity and lead sector discussions and negotiations with Government and public authorities.

The Confederation also provides wide-ranging professional advice to members, covering health and safety, energy and emissions, planning, employment law and skills, and trade. We also promote environmentally responsible and sustainable manufacturing. We’re driven by a member-centred strategy which focuses on supporting the thriving ceramic manufacturing sector by providing the right conditions to help, protect and grow our members’ businesses.

The Confederation is recruiting an experienced Communications Manager. This role involves developing and promoting a strong and positive image of the UK ceramic manufacturing industry with a broad range of stakeholders. This is an exciting and challenging role, working with the Chief Executive Dr Laura Cohen. The successful candidate will become fully involved in a wide range of communication initiatives including promotion of the sector and the Confederation. They will also deliver a range of projects within a small and dynamic team.

The post holder will have experience in business communications and have a high level of literacy, IT skills and numeracy, with the capability and energy to adapt to a diverse range of responsibilities. They need a proven track record in managing projects.

The successful candidate will need excellent communication, organisational, influencing and interpersonal skills. Experience in manufacturing industry or a membership organisation is desirable.  A full driving licence is required.

The salary will be up to £36,000 per year, depending on experience pro rata for 25 hours per week, i.e. £25,714 per year. These working hours may need to have some flexibility. This post is based at our offices in Stoke-on-Trent, although there is the flexibility to work from home for up to 60% of contracted hours. The person specification can be seen here. To demonstrate you have the right skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to thrive in this role, send your CV and covering letter to Helen Clarke ( by 30th August 2021. Interviews are planned for Friday 10th September 2021.

New British Ceramic Confederation President announced

EDWARD Naylor has been confirmed as the new President of the British Ceramic Confederation, the trade association for the UK ceramics manufacturing industry.

The 57-year-old, who has been CEO of family business Naylor Industries for 27 years, succeeds Keith Barker, Managing Director of Wienerberger UK, for a two-year term.

Edward said: “I’m honoured to accept this role and really looking forward to supporting BCC’s Chief Executive Dr Laura Cohen and her team in representing a crucial industry at a critical time both economically and politically.”

Laura Cohen added: “We are delighted to welcome Edward as the incoming President of the British Ceramic Confederation and would like to thank Keith Barker for his hard work, support and dedication in the role for the past two years.”

Naylor Industries has six manufacturing sites with its head office in Barnsley. The group primarily manufactures construction materials including clay pipes, a product which it has manufactured since its formation in 1890. An active exporter, Naylor’s clay division was awarded a Queen’s Award for international trade earlier this year.

Ceramics Innovation Network: Sintering and Firing in the Ceramics Industry

DATE: 14/04/2021

TIME: 10.00am

LOCATION: To be conducted online

“Sintering and Firing in the Ceramics Industry”, the main event in the 2021 Ceramic Innovation Network (CIN) series, will take place on Wednesday, April 14.  The speakers include Stephane Vissiere of Wienerberger, Dr Robert Quarshie and Jenni McDonnell of KTN, and Dr Russell Hall of Warwick Manufacturing Group.
Supported by KTN, CIN is led by the British Ceramic Confederation and Lucideon.  It is also supported by the University of Surrey.
For more information on the programme, speakers and to register please click here.