Gigabit factory

West Midlands Gigafactory gets green light

The West Midlands Gigafactory joint venture has taken the next step in its journey to deliver a Gigafactory in the region, with council planning committees supporting the outline planning application for its site in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Both Coventry City Council and Warwick District Council’s planning committees resolved to approve outline plans for the factory, which will result in £2.5bn worth of investment.

A public-private joint venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd, it will create up to 6,000 new highly skilled jobs directly alongside thousands more in the wider supply chain in Coventry, Warwickshire and the surrounding region.

With many major automotive manufacturers based in the region, the West Midlands is recognised as the automotive skills capital of the UK.

Therefore, it has access to both current and future talent, as well as the existing skills needed to support the West Midlands Gigafactory.

Ready from 2025, the 530,000sqm facility will manufacture high-tech lithium-ion batteries for the global automotive and energy storage industries and will have the capacity to deliver up to 60GWh by the end of the decade. 

As the world rapidly moves towards an increasingly electrified future, Gigafactories have been identified as critical to the UK’s automotive and domestic energy sectors, future economic growth and achieving net zero targets.

Commenting, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, Councillor Jim O’Boyle said:

“This is good news for Coventry. The Gigafactory, alongside our ambitions including very light rail, will put us at the front of the green industrial revolution bringing significant investment and job creation to our city.

“The Gigafactory is part of Coventry and Warwickshire’s ambitious 10-year vision and investment plan, it is at the heart of an area that has been developed to create the right environment for the next generation of automotive investment.

“We have the location, people and supply chain expertise developed in the automotive and battery sectors over many years to make us the perfect location for a Gigafactory.

“The next step is to secure an investor to ensure that the wider automotive and battery ecosystem in Coventry and the West Midlands continues to contribute towards increased economic growth, job creation and skills development.”

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street added:

“This is another crucial step forward in bringing our plans for a West Midlands Gigafactory to life.

“Not only will a Gigafactory support the future of our region’s automotive sector, creating thousands of new jobs, but it will also help protect our planet from the climate change emergency.

“It truly would be a game changer and I am delighted both Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council have recognised this and backed our vision.

“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.”

Powered by 100% renewable energy, plans for the Gigafactory include one of the UK’s largest rooftop arrays of photovoltaic panels to harness solar power to operate the factory, while the site includes facilities to store any excess solar energy for use when it is needed.

The Gigafactory will adopt a net zero transport and logistics strategy, with access to the UK’s motorway network, as well as electrified road and rail options saving seven million miles of HGV traffic on roads annually.

The West Midlands Gigafactory industry leading ‘cradle-to-cradle’ approach will allow the plant to both manufacture new batteries and recycle used ones.

Following the positive resolutions at both planning committees, outline planning permission will be formally issued once the associated legal agreement has been signed and the government has been consulted, which is expected in March 2022.

PSE will be hosting a Learning & Development virtual event on 3 February 2022. Join us for the full day event by registering here.

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