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Coventry planners join Warwick in backing £2.5bn gigafactory

Written by on 13/01/2022




Coventry planners have joined counterparts in Warwick by approving the new £2.5bn gigafactory
Coventry planners have joined counterparts in Warwick by approving the new £2.5bn gigafactory

Planning chiefs in Coventry have joined their counterparts in Warwick today by backing the construction of a massive new gigafactory.

At a meeting of Coventry City Coventry’s planning committee, councillors consented to the scheme at Coventry Airport which falls into both of the local authorities’ boundaries.

The £2.5 billion factory is set to house facilities to build new lithium-ion electric vehicle batteries, as well as recycle used ones, and is expected to create 6,000 jobs and support thousands more in the supply chain.
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West Midlands Gigafactory, which is a joint partnership between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport, is said to be the UK’s largest project of its kind and it is hoped it will be operational from 2025.

It will cover more than 5.38 million sq ft of space and at full capacity will be capable of delivering up to 60GWh of production per year.



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It will be powered by a planned major boost to the local energy network, giving the gigafactory access to a 100 per cent renewable electricity supply from a combination of solar power and grid-supplied renewables.

The gigafactory, plans for which were first unveiled last February, would occupy the entirety of the airport site with all airport-related operations ceasing and the on-site businesses no longer able to trade from there.

However, in order for the gigafactory to happen it requires a major investor to come on board and the search for one is continuing.

The application will now be referred to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, because the development site sits within the greenbelt.

He would then decide whether the outline application should be called in and put before a public enquiry.

Project director Mike Murray said: “This is an important milestone for the West Midlands Gigafactory. With outline planning permission supported, the site has everything in place that future investors, likely to be drawn from the global battery industry, need for a state-of-the-art gigafactory.

“Thanks to this decision, we are now in a strong position to progress our discussions with the global automotive and energy storage industries.

“Located at the heart of the UK’s automotive industry, the gigafactory is closer to almost every car manufacturing plant in the UK than any of the other proposed or gigafactories under construction, making it an ideal location for global battery manufacturers.”



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There are currently no other battery plants in the UK but both Britishvolt and Envision AESC won consent for schemes in the North East last year.

Car makers are keen to work with gigafactories close to their own manufacturing bases and the Midlands is already home to names such as BMW in Coleshill, Aston Martin in Gaydon and Toyota in Derby while Jaguar Land Rover operates factories across the West Midlands.

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

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Warwick District Council leader Cllr Andrew Day added: “In the past 100 years, there has probably not been a more important decision for the British automotive industry.

“A new industrial revolution is under way 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.”



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