Friday 11 December 2020 12:01 am

Britishvolt to build £2.6bn battery 'gigaplant' in Blyth

Start-up Britishvolt has chosen Blyth in the north-east of England to be the site of the UK’s first ever battery “gigaplant”.

The project, which will cost £2.6bn in total, is one of the largest ever investments into the region.

Around 3000 people will be employed at the plant, which will produce lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles.

Another 5,000 roles will be supported by the factory’s supply chain, the company said.

Construction is set to begin in summer next year, with the plant expected to produce its first batteries in 2023.

By 2027, it is estimated that the gigaplant will produce 300,000 batteries a year, a crucial step in the UK’s bid to move away from petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

Britishvolt said that it had chosen Blyth because of its excellent transport links and access to clean, renewable energy.

Chief executive Orral Nadjari said: “We are delighted to have secured this site in Blyth. This is a tremendous moment both for Britishvolt and UK industry.

“Now we can really start the hard work and begin producing lithium-ion batteries for future electrified vehicles in just three years.

Before the Open newsletter: Start your day with the City View podcast and key market data

“It is crucial for the UK automotive industry and for the entire economy that we are able to power the future. The sooner we start, the better.”

It is the single biggest investment into the north-east since Nissan set up a plant in the area in 1984.

With the future of that site currently in doubt due to the prospect of punitive tariffs on the auto industry in event of a no-deal Brexit, today’s announcement is a major boost for the region.

It comes amid a push from the Conservative government to follow through on its election promise to “level up” the UK.

Blyth Valley was one of the so-called “red wall” of Labour seats that flipped to the Tories during last year’s election, and ministers will be looking to show that they have not forgotten about the area.

Blyth Valley MP Ian Levy said: “There is still much to do but the prospect of the UK’s first gigaplant on the old Blyth Power Station site directly creating up to 8000 jobs is amazing.

“These jobs will not only return the area to the status of an industrial powerhouse but will help us retain our graduates and provide a huge boost to struggling high streets.

“I look forward to working with all involved and will provide the backing necessary to deliver a scheme that is a once in a generation opportunity.”