North East England is already deeply associated with automotive manufacturing, thanks to Nissan’s factory in Sunderland – the largest car plant in the UK – and the extensive automotive supply chain that has built up around the A19 corridor.
And the region has long been established in the global EV landscape too: the world’s first mass produced 100% electric car, the Leaf, has been manufactured at Nissan’s Sunderland plant since 2013, and further EV development is planned by the company in the North East.
But drive a little further up the A19 to the Northumberland coast and you’ll find a new focal point for the UK’s electrification revolution…
In December 2020, Britishvolt announced that it had selected Cambois, Blyth as the location of its first battery gigaplant.
It instantly made Northumberland a key region in the drive towards the UK achieving Net Zero by 2050.
Britishvolt’s £2.6 billion investment into Northumberland represents one of the UK’s largest ever industrial investments and the gigaplant will provide 3,000 highly skilled jobs and up to 5,000 more in the wider supply chain.
And the development of the gigaplant – at Northumberland Energy Park Phase 3 of the Energy Central Cluster – continues apace.
On September 6 2021, Britishvolt announced that its construction partner, ISG, had commenced enabling works at the site – a major milestone for the gigafactory.
And last month, Britishvolt joined a consortium of seven UK-based organisations in signing a memorandum of understanding to combine ambitions to develop world-leading prototype solid-state battery technology, targeting automotive applications.
Production at the Britishvolt site is planned to start in 2023, where it will produce up to 30GW lithium-ion batteries powering up to 300,000 vehicles a year.
Northumberland and wider North East England is already the UK’s leading region for advanced manufacturing and is home to a strong skilled and loyal manufacturing workforce.
But Britishvolt’s presence will power a new era for Northumberland… an era intrinsically linked to the UK’s electrification journey.
Opportunities on the doorstep
Britishvolt’s manufacturing operations will need support and expertise from specialist partners and suppliers.
And that means there are opportunities for companies to become embedded into Britishvolt’s supply chain, right at the start of the gigaplant’s journey.
The opportunities extend from supporting production processes including the potential for anode, cathode and process technologies to wider opportunities for specialist business support. Opportunities to provide training services, logistics, shipping, facilities management and much more will develop out of the Britishvolt business ecosystem.
It’s certainly an exciting time for both the EV supply chain and the region…
So how can businesses take advantage of these opportunities?
Businesses wishing to locate on the gigaplant’s doorstep will access to extensive business support from Advance Northumberland.
And they will have a wide range of attractive site development and property options to choose from too…
Northumberland Energy Park
Adjacent to Britishvolt’s gigafactory investment site at Northumberland Energy Park Phase 3 is Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1, which offers 36 HA of development land – 11.12 HA of which hold North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) Enterprise Zone status.
The site has excellent access to the National Grid via two adjacent National Grid substations and thanks to an investment of more than £36 million, there is a new deep-water dock to allow access for the transportation of of materials, goods and finished products by sea.
Northumberland Energy Park also includes Northumberland Energy Park Phase 2 in Cambois, Blyth. This 35 HA development site is already home to the North Sea Link Interconnector convertor station which connects the UK and Norwegian national electricity grids with around 1.4GW of power – enough energy to power a city the size of Oslo!
Northumberland Energy Park benefits from an exceptional strategic location and companies locating there can take advantage of superb market access and outstanding transport links.
As part of the Energy Central cluster at the Blyth Estuary, Northumberland Energy Park offers lock-free access to the North Sea basin, via the Port of Blyth. The port is an important hub for the movement of project, containerised, dry bulk and breakbulk cargoes and offers a wide range of facilities.
In addition, Energy Central boasts established rail freight infrastructure and Blyth is also only around 30 minutes’ drive from Newcastle Central Station, which provides access to the entire UK rail network.
Rail connectivity in South East Northumberland will get even better too, thanks to the Northumberland line.
Set to be operational in 2023, this is a new dedicated passenger rail line from Newcastle to Ashington, with a station at Blyth Bebside.
Northumberland Energy Park benefits from rapid access to the UK’s road network via some of the country’s least congested roads. The nearby A1(M) connects the site to the UK motorway network and the A69 and A19 road link connect Northumberland to the south and west of the UK.
The A19 also enables quick access to key manufacturing and automotive industry clusters in other areas of the North East, including Washington and Sunderland.
Plus, for international flight links, Newcastle International Airport is only a 20-minute drive from Northumberland Energy Park.
Ashwood Business Park
Ashwood Business Park in Ashington, South East Northumberland, offers 25 HA of development land just five minutes’ drive from the Britishvolt gigaplant site. Located at the heart of one of the North East’s strongest manufacturing clusters, it is set to be a major new advanced manufacturing hub for the region – and is perfectly placed to become part of Britishvolt’s supply chain landscape.
Organisations locating there can benefit from 100 per cent Enhanced Capital Allowances, thanks to the business park’s status as a North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) Enterprise Zone. This makes the site particularly attractive to large scale manufacturing and engineering businesses who wish to invest in new, more efficient technology and expand their capabilities.
It’s accessible too. The business park is close to the A1 (M) and A19 road links and it’s just a short drive to Newcastle International Airport.
Plots available at Ashwood Business Park are from 50,000 sq ft to 500,000 sq ft and a variety of industrial units can be developed, with tenure options ranging from a freehold sale to a bespoke, turnkey solution on a short-term lease.
Plug into an extensive specialist support network
With a long track record in automotive manufacturing, North East England has developed a cohesive support infrastructure, which is helping to drive the growth of the EV industry and the wider automotive sector in the region.
Industry-led cluster group The North East Automotive Alliance, for instance, is the largest automotive cluster in the UK and one of the fastest growing clusters across Europe.
EV North, an initiative run by the North East Automotive Alliance, aims to strengthen the North East’s manufacturing and research activity in electrified powertrain components and systems, to increase investment, activity and collaboration.
Game-changing investments, pioneering technology, extensive development sites, specialist skills and support… these ingredients are all powering Northumberland into the future.
And in working together, we can create sustainable, long term prosperity for Northumberland and the wider North East region, as well as leading the way in driving towards a zero carbon economy.
For more information on the investment and supply chain opportunities around Britishvolt’s gigaplant, visit https://www.investnorthumberland.co.uk/sectors-supply-chain/gigafactory-electrification-and-storage/ email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01670 528 400.
You can also meet the Advance Northumberland team at the North East Automotive Expo on September 30 at The Beacon Of Light in Sunderland – find us at stand B1.