A planning application for a gigafactory at Coventry Airport has been submitted by joint venture partners, Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd, it was confirmed on Thursday morning.
The proposals, which were first announced in February this year, are set to be determined by Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council later this year.
The Joint Venture Partnership was formed earlier this year to bring forward proposals for a gigafactory at Coventry Airport to supply the local automotive hub with electric vehicle batteries, potentially including Jaguar Land Rover.
By submitting plans now, those behind the project want to ensure the site is ready for investment and can become operational quickly – making it significantly more attractive to potential investors.
Is Britain’s third battery gigafactory coming to the West Midlands? Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd have submitted planning application for a massive plant close to the region’s automotive hub
The planning application is for 5.7million square foot of space for both a battery production and recycling facility.
It is estimated that the project could add £434million to the local economy each year, as well as create 6,000 new jobs and tens of thousands more in the supply chain.
The proposals confirm that the gigafactory will be powered by 100 per cent green energy, using a combination of sources including solar and wind power, as well as grid-supplied renewables.
It will also be able to recycle used batteries as well as build new ones in an industry-leading approach known as ‘cradle to cradle’.
Local government sources behind the plans have previously said discussions are ‘well under way with a number of potential suppliers’, including battery suppliers and automotive manufacturers, to join the project.
If realised, it would follow the Britishvolt battery plant due to be built in Blyth, Northumberland, from next year – after being awarded planning permission earlier this month – and the recently-announced gigafactory linked to Nissan’s car production site in Sunderland.
Local government sources behind the plans for a gigafactory at Coventry Airport say discussions are ‘well under way with a number of potential suppliers’, including battery suppliers and automotive manufacturers, to join the project
Britishvolt earlier this week confirmed it has been granted planning permission for the nation’s first battery gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland
Those behind the project say the West Midlands offers one of the most competitive sites for a gigafactory in the country, with a third of all British cars built in the region, which also has unique access to existing supply chains.
It is home to the country’s biggest car maker Jaguar Land Rover, which has pledged to transform Jaguar into a pure-electric luxury brand from 2025.
The local region’s automotive hub also consists of Aston Martin Lagonda and BMW, whilst Coventry Airport is adjacent to the UK’s largest battery research centre, the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC).
In the last month, the UK Government has faced increasing pressure from the industry to back more gigafactories.
In June, both the CBI and SMMT published reports calling for ministers to increase its support for UK battery manufacturing facilities to keep up with European competitors.
In recent weeks, the Prime Minister stated in Parliament that a gigafactory in the West Midlands would contribute to ensuring the region ‘lead(s) in building new electric vehicles for this country and for the world’.
The Government has made up to £500million funding available for a Gigafactory, which the West Midlands will be bidding for in due course.
A battery plant could supply the local automotive hub in Coventry, which includes JLR, which has pledged for Jaguar to become an all-electric car maker by 2025
Cllr George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: ‘The submission of a planning application for a gigafactory is the important next step as we seek to deliver battery production for the West Midlands.
‘We have worked with regional partners and industry experts at pace to deliver outline proposals for a world-leading facility, powered by green energy, and ready for investment.
‘There is increasing pressure to ensure the UK is ready to take advantage of electrification and together the West Midlands is seizing the initiative to deliver for UK PLC as part of a Green Industrial Revolution.
‘We are the ideal location for a Gigafactory as the home of the UK automotive sector, alongside world-leading research in battery technology.’
Andy Street, the 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.’
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