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Build & Sustainability

Britishvolt secures Government cash backing to drive forward 3000-job Blyth battery factory plans

A firm behind plans for an 3000-job vehicle battery making factory says its has unlocked £1.7 billion private funding to drive its development forward after receiving Government cash support.

Britishvolt has secured backing from Downing Street’s Automotive Transformation Fund.

And bosses the cash has helped it secure £1.7 billion of investment from Tritax Group and Abrdn, which will help turn their blueprint for a plant at the old Blyth power station site, in Cambois, Northumberland, into reality.

Bosses say the plant – known as a gigafactory – has the potential to create 3000 direct jobs and up to 5000 supply chain posts.

When fully operational, they say it will have capacity to make 300,000 batteries every year for the electric vehicle market.

Peter Rolton, Britishvolt executive chairman, said: “This announcement is a major step in putting the UK at the forefront of the global energy transition, unlocking huge private sector investment that will develop the technology and skills required for Britain to play its part in the next industrial revolution.

“The news is the first step in creating a commercialised battery ecosystem, that perfectly aligns with the existing research and development ecosystem.

“We will be the anchor for attracting further sections of the supply chain, be it refining or recycling, to co-locate on the Britishvolt site.

“This is truly historic and marks the start of a truly exciting move towards a low-carbon future – one with Britishvolt batteries at the very centre.”

Praising Britishvolt’s vision, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This is a major boost for Britain and a resounding vote of confidence in the North East economy.

“Britishvolt’s planned gigafactory will not only enable the UK to fully capture the benefits of a booming electric vehicle market, but will bring thousands of highly-skilled, well-paid jobs to the North East.

“In this global race between countries to secure vital battery production, we are proud to make the investment necessary to ensure the UK retains its place as one of the best locations in the world for auto manufacturing.”

Bosses from across the region’s automotive industry have expressed their delight at the funding.

Ryan Maughan, chair of EV North, the group that works to promote the region as a global electrification technology hub, said: “This will unlock huge investment in the North East, using legacy energy infrastructure, a huge available brownfield site and new renewable energy assets to create what will be one of the cleanest battery manufacturing plants in the world.”

Matt Boyle, chair of the North East Automotive Alliance, added:  “This is yet more evidence that the North East is the electrification capital of the UK.

“The investments from Britishvolt, alongside those from Nissan, Envision and Turntide are turning the North East into a globally recognised manufacturing location for the future electrification of transport.”