Plans for a vast 3,000-job Gigaplant making batteries in Northumberland have taken a huge leap forward.

The company behnd the plans, Britishvolt, has now handed the keys to the site to lead construction partner ISG so they can start advanced work at the former Blyth Power Station in Cambois.

The development is a major boost for Northumberland, and as well as the 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs, another 5,000 will be created in the associated supply chains.

Britishvolt is on target to manufacture some of the world’s most sustainable, low carbon battery cells at the factory, which will be built in phases towards total capacity by end-2027 onwards. 

Once at full capacity, the Gigaplant will have a production capability equating to approximately enough cells for around 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs per year, intended primarily for the automotive industry.

Richard McDonell, Britishvolt Project Director, said: “Today is a landmark event for UK manufacturing and the automotive industry on the road to zero.

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"It is a pleasure to see our tier one construction partner ISG, and its world-class workforce, commence preliminary works on site ahead of the main construction programme, which we anticipate will start in late autumn/early winter. This initial phase will see the site cleared and preparatory work carried out for the services and infrastructure that will support construction activity.

This is yet another milestone on our journey to building the UK’s first full-scale Gigaplant. It’s a boost for UK plc and the real kick-start of the energy transition, of which Britishvolt batteries will be at the very heart.”

Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “It’s great to see work starting on the ground on a site which the council and partners have been actively engaged on in recent years to make it an attractive proposition for investors.

"Since we granted planning permission work behind the scenes has continued at pace so to see enabling works getting underway is fantastic – not just for the council and Britishvolt, but for everyone in the county.

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"With thousands of jobs in the pipeline and billions of pounds of investment this is such a good news story for Northumberland and the wider region and we look forward to following progress over the coming months.”

Ian Levy MP said the news was "a momentous event for Northumberland".

“Replacing the old with the new is what regeneration is all about and I can’t think of a better example with the former coal yard of Blyth power station being transformed to produce low carbon battery cells in the UK’s first giga plant.   

“I must congratulate those that have made this happen which includes Orral Nadjari, Peter Rolton and Isobel Sheldon of Britishvolt, who have received fantastic support from Councillors Glen Sanderson and Richard Wearmouth via the County Council and Advance Northumberland.”