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Plans for a Gigafactory in the West Midlands take another step forward

Some good news for the West Midlands with Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council both resolving to approve outline plans for a Gigafactory.

According to the JV behind the scheme, once it's up and running it will generate £2.5bn in new investment, create up to 6,000 new and highly skilled jobs, as well as thousands more in the wider supply chain across the surrounding region.

The Gigafactory will look to manufacture high-tech lithium-ion batteries for the automotive and energy storage industries and will have the capacity to deliver up to 60GWh by 2030.

Gigafactories have been identified as critical to the UK’s automotive and domestic energy sectors, to future economic growth and in helping to achieve Net Zero targets making the building and delivery of this West Midlands Gigafactory an essential component of the UK’s electrification strategy.

With outline planning permission supported the project is coming together rapidly and its backers are expected to start having discussions with the automotive and energy storage industries.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This is another crucial step forward in bringing our plans for a West Midlands Gigafactory to life.

“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, working in partnership with industry and the Government, we will not rest until we have secured one.”

Compared to many other countries the UK has been relatively slow in developing this type of capacity and there have been calls for it to 'up its game' if it is to benefit from the move to electrification of the economy.

A public-private joint venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport the Gigafactory has the support of a number of industrial groups, local government and academic institutions and following the positive resolutions at both planning committees, outline planning permission will be formally issued once the associated legal agreement has been signed and government has been consulted.

This is expected in March 2022.

Neil Tyler

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