Britishvolt's Gigaplant at Cambois is a "once in a generation" opportunity
Plans to build a new gigaplant producing batteries for electric vehicles would be a “once in a generation” opportunity, a leading expert has said.
Government adviser and campaigner for electric vehicles Quinten Willson has thrown his support behind Britishvolt s proposals to build the £2.6bn plant in Cambois.
He visited the site last week to meet with senior officials from Britishvolt and see for himself how the facility would not only boost the local economy, but would be great news for the country.
And speaking to the News Post Leader, he said the gigaplant would create vital jobs, training opportunities, a brighter future and cleaner air.
Quentin Wilson said: “It’s really important to bring the gigaplant to the UK but also important to come here to the North East and support the electric car industry where Nissan are building the Leaf.
"I’ve always been a big fan of this area, people up here get down and do things. They want to work hard and make a difference.
"Making a community around this factory is so important, giving people jobs and opportunities.
"That’s one of the best bits about this story. We’re training people to make a better future, to educate their children and that in turn makes people happier members of society.
“This all feels so so good. There is so much hope and optimism here.”
He said it was vital for the UK to catch up with electric vehicle market leaders such as Tesla in America and with the Chinese market, especially as no petrol or diesel engine cars will be built from 2030 onwards.
"This is a once in a generation opportunity,” he said.
"We need to get the Government behind this as well as MPs and ministers.”
Peter Rolton, chairman of Britishvolt, was delighted to show Quentin Willson around the site and the plans for the gigaplant.
In the meantime, work is continuing on site.
Mr Rolton said: “Surveys are taking place on the site. We are doing everything we can to be ready to start quickly when we get planning approval.
"Quentin Willson, an advocate for electric vehicles, and other automotive industries are welcoming our proposals.
"Even those who drive petrol-engined vehicles are recognising times are changing and we can’t stop progress.”
Britishvolt are looking to build the battery making plant on the site of the former Blyth Power Station in Cambois, creating 3,000 jobs – and up to 8,000 including construction and the supply chain – by 2027, with the first phase seeing 1,000 jobs when it opens in 2023.
A planning application was submitted earlier this year, gaining support from dozens of residents, and is due before a planning committee on July 6.
Once complete, the building – which will have a perimeter of 1.3miles – will be the biggest investment in the North East since Nissan and the fourth largest building in Europe.
Mr Rolton said their application ticked all the necessary boxes of the site being zoned for manufacturing, low carbon and jobs.