Case Study 13: A case study of the steel industry. The reasons for changing locations and the social, economic impacts of change

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  • Created on: 28-05-17 12:29
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  • Case Study 13: The reasons for changing locations and the social, economic impacts of change
    • Key Terms:
      • Raw Materials: natural resources such as coal, oil, iron ore which are then processed
      • Globalisation: the process by which the world is becoming increasingly interconnected as a result of massively increased trade and cultural exchange
      • Footloose: an industry that can be placed and located at any location regardless of factors such as resources and transport
      • Energy: the power required for the steel industry to run. This would be provided by natural resources such as coal
    • Merthyr Tydfil is in south Wales near to the southern coast. It is 20miles north west of Cardiff and 25 miles north east of Swansea
      • Reasons for this location:
        • Human
          • Demand for steel weapons for world wars
          • Age of railways making steel important for tracks
          • New technology to extract deeper areas with higher quality
          • Better transport and communication needed so growth of railways and road networks
          • Lots of labour requirement led to population increase
        • Physical
          • Surrounding hilly area caused relief rainfall which created rivers that provided water for industry
          • Geology was a coal field including raw materials such as coal and limestone
          • Area is rich in ironstone
    • Reasons for decline in industry:
      • Conservative government closed many in 1981 as they were deemed unprofitable and cheaper to import from abroad
      • Expensive to convert old facilities into new iron processing plants so new plants were built in more accessible locations
      • Manufacturing moved to India were labour and production costs were lowers
      • Raw materials (coal, limestone and ironstone/ore) ran out so production moved to Port Talbot on the coast or abroad as globalisation made it easy to import raw materials and it became too expensive to transport inland
    • Differences between Merthyr Tydfil and Port Talbot:
      • Port Talbot is on the coast so is nearby to where raw materials are imported
      • Port Talbot has good connections to major road networks such as the M4 so can access the whole of the British Market for sale
      • Port Talbot is on flatter land so plant construction is easier and cheaper
    • Impacts of the changing location of the steel industry:
      • Social:
        • Large-scale unemployment among men
        • Loss of community spirit as crime rates increased
        • Young people migrated to towns and cities leaving the area into further decline
      • Economic:
        • Negative multiplier effect
        • The set up of the Welsh Development Agency to encourage investment in the region and create jobs


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