£2.5bn West Midlands gigafactory gets the nod

by Sion Geschwindt
Westmidlands gigafactory

Plans for the construction of a lithium-ion car battery factory in the West Midlands have received outline planning permission.

West Midlands Gigafactory is a public-private joint venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd.

Production ready from 2025, the 530,000 sq.metre facility will manufacture high-tech lithium-ion batteries for the global automotive and energy storage industries.

The Gigafactory will have capacity to deliver up to 60GWh by the end of the decade and result in an estimated £2.5bn investment – creating up to 6,000 new highly skilled jobs.

Sustainable design

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.

The site also includes facilities to store any excess solar energy for use when its needed.

The Gigafactory will adopt a net zero transport and logistics strategy with excellent 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 allows the plant to both manufacture new batteries and recycle used ones.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change at Coventry City Council, 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.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, 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.”

The next automotive revolution

Councillor Andrew Day, Leader Warwick District Council, said: “In the past 100 years, there has probably not been a more important decision for the British Automotive industry.

“A new industrial revolution is underway and once again the West Midlands is playing a key part. We’ve the opportunity now to create thousands of new and highly skilled jobs, boosting the national effort to reduce carbon emissions and build a more prosperous local economy.” 

“This has been a collaborative effort and special tribute is due to our dedicated officers and advisors who supported our residents and Councillors in completing the rigorous assessment of this far-reaching proposal. 

“We stand ready to work with the Local Enterprise Partnership and other authorities, to engage the local businesses affected and assist our residents in dealing with the detailed plans as they come forward.”  

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.

Image credit: West Midlands Gigafactory collective


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