Plans submitted for West Midlands gigafactory in UK

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A planning application for a gigafactory at Coventry Airport in the UK has been submitted by joint venture partners, Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport.

The planning application for the gigafactory has now been submitted

The proposals, which were first announced in February this year, are set to be determined by Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council later in 2021.

The Joint Venture Partnership was formed earlier this year to bring forward proposals for a gigafactory at Coventry Airport, to ensure the site is ready for investment and can become operational quickly – making it significantly more attractive to potential investors.

The submitted plans outlined that the proposals would deliver 5.7m sq ft of space for both battery production and recycling, adding £434m in GVA to the regional economy each year, as well as creating 6,000 new jobs and tens of thousands more in the supply chain.

The gigafactory will be powered by 100% green energy and will be able to recycle used batteries as well as build new ones.

Last year saw the Government say that it’s actively pursuing investment in a gigafactory and has made up to £500m funding available; both announcements were made by Prime Minister Boris Johnston in the October 2020 confirmation of the 2030 petrol and diesel new car ban and the West Midlands partnership has said it will be bidding for this in due course.

Since then, a report commissioned by the SMMT has called for a binding target on battery capacity, as it outlines that bold action is needed to ensure the UK automotive sector remains competitive in the transition to net zero.

Earlier this month, Nissan announced plans for a £1bn EV hub at its Sunderland plant, including a gigafactory.

But the joint venture partners said that the West Midlands offers one of the most competitive sites for a gigafactory in the UK, located near to Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin Lagonda and BMW, whilst Coventry Airport is adjacent to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) research centre.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It is mission-critical that the West Midlands secures a gigafactory, both for the future of our region’s automotive industry and the huge economic and job benefits it would bring, as well as the future of our planet. I am therefore delighted that after years of collaborative work, we have now been able to reach this milestone moment of formally submitting a planning application for our preferred site.

“By driving forward with our plans and going through the planning process now, we are trying to get everything in place for when a commercial negotiation between supplier and customer concludes, meaning we can move quickly to get the site operational as soon as possible.

“The West Midlands is already home to the country’s biggest car manufacturer, Europe’s largest research centre of its kind, the UK’s only battery industrialisation centre, and a world-leading supply chain. A gigafactory therefore is the natural next step for the UK’s automotive heartland, and I will not rest until we have secured one.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.