Plans for £2.6bn electric vehicle battery plant on old coal-burning site


Plans have been announced to build Britain’s biggest electric vehicle battery plant on the site where a coal-burning power station once stood.

Britishvolt will invest £2.6 billion in the project in Blyth, Northumberland, creating 3,000 jobs and reportedly representing the biggest investment in the North East of England since Nissan arrived in 1984.

The firm said it would be Britain’s first battery “gigaplant” – representing the huge scale of the 95-hectare site – and aimed for it to be producing lithium-ion batteries by the end of 2023.

Another 5,000 jobs could be created in the supply chain, the firm said.

Its aim is to build a sustainable site using renewable energy, with the potential to use Norwegian hydro-electric power transmitted 447 miles under the North Sea via the world’s longest inter-connector.

Britishvolt chief executive Orral Nadjari said: “Now we can really start the hard work and begin producing lithium-ion batteries for future electrified vehicles in just three years.

“It is crucial for the UK automotive industry and for the entire economy that we are able to power the future. The sooner we start, the better.”

He said Blyth was chosen as it is a renewable energy centre with good transport links and is beside a deep-water port.

Blyth Power Station was the site of two coal-burning power stations which were eventually demolished in the early 2000s.

The Britishvolt plan has been supported Advance Northumberland, the county council’s development arm.

Blyth Valley Conservative MP Ian Levy said: “I can’t think of anything comparable in the North East since Nissan invested in Sunderland more than 35 years ago.

“Since Britishvolt first made contact it has been my absolute priority to work in partnership with its leadership team to do everything possible to bring this scheme to Northumberland.

“Advance Northumberland has also a played a critical role in reaching this point so quickly.

“There is still much to do but the prospect of the UK’s first gigaplant on the old Blyth Power Station site directly creating up to 8,000 jobs is amazing.

“These jobs will not only return the area to the status of an industrial powerhouse but will help us retain our graduates and provide a huge boost to struggling high streets.”