A ‘GAMECHANGING’ gigafactory could be built in Warwick District.
A joint venture is being pursued by Coventry City Council (CCC) and Coventry Airport to develop the UK’s first facility of its kind at the airport site in Baginton.
The proposals for the factory – which would manufacture batteries for the automotive sector at scale – aim to improve the area, which is already home to several automotive manufacturers, as a destination for investment.
The partners will develop proposals and submit an outline planning application for a gigafactory in 2021, expected to be operational by 2025, if it is approved.
Warwick District Council (WDC) leader Andrew Day assured the council would ‘rigorously consider’ the application. He said: “As a key partner in the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Warwick District Council has been supportive of the efforts to ensure that the sub-region is an attractive destination for investment, particularly in automotive and battery manufacturing. In relation to the site now being proposed, Coventry Airport is within the Warwick District Council area and as the Strategic Local Planning Authority, this council will ensure that the planning application is considered rigorously, meticulously and diligently, as is every application submitted to us.
“We have already begun work with the Joint Venture partners to ensure that the application they ultimately submit recognises and mitigates the potential impacts of these proposals.”
Securing a gigafactory in the West Midlands has been identified as vital for the continued success of the automotive industry, creating thousands of green jobs, attracting up to £2bn of investment, and supporting the drive for net zero.
The region will be bidding for £500million government investment for the facility in due course.
Nick Abell, chair of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) said: “Coventry and Warwickshire has worked incredibly hard over recent years to ensure the region is an attractive destination for investment, particularly in automotive and battery manufacturing, allying our engineering heritage and capability with our cutting-edge research.
“Since securing the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in 2017, our capability in battery technology has gone from strength to strength. The Joint Venture between Coventry City Council and The Rigby Group will continue to establish our region as the obvious location for a UK gigafactory.”
Matt Western, Warwick and Leamington MP and chair of the All-Party Motor Group in parliament welcomed the move.
He said: “Warwickshire and the West Midlands have always been the UK’s industrial heartlands, and the jewel in the crown of our automotive sector.
“Ambitious plans to phase out petrol and diesel along with Brexit complications mean we are going to have to produce batteries at home and at scale if the sector is to compete globally in the long-term.
“Coventry and Warwickshire, more specifically the old airport site, is clearly the best location for a battery production Gigafactory to serve manufacturing giants Jaguar Land Rover as well as Aston Martin and BMW Mini.
“Our area is vital to UK manufacturing and the prospect of 4,000 jobs would be a massive boost.
“Coventry’s bid has my full support and I urge ministers to back it.”
The Joint Venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd is set to be approved by Coventry City Council’s Cabinet at a meeting on 23rd February 23 before a planning application is submitted.
Visit www.ukgigafactory.com for more information.