“Swift action is needed to seal the deal”, says Metro Mayor Dan Norris following media reports in the Times that the government is considering half a billion pounds in incentives to Jaguar Land Rover to build a new electric battery “giga-factory” in Somerset.
The cash would be to improve transport links to and from Somerset’s 616-acre Gravity smart campus off junction 23 of the M5. It is thought that Jaguar Land Rover plan to choose between Somerset or Spain soon.
The Metro Mayor who has been in touch with all three of the Prime Ministers over the last two years about securing a giga factory in Somerset, urged the Government to “put the failures of Britishvolt behind them” and “land these British green jobs”. He has offered to assist with workforce training through his West of England Mayoral Combined Authority which is the regional body responsible for skills.
The Labour Metro Mayor who had face-to-face meetings with Jaguar Land Rover last year says he has told bosses at the company how keen he is to welcome them to the West of England, stressing that the Gravity site is “super convenient with Bristol Port on the doorstep” and a host of skilled and enthusiastic local workers living in the region.
So called “giga-factories” are springing up around the world in the race to meet the expected huge increase in demand as countries start to ban petrol and diesel engines.
Yet there are fears the UK could fall behind in this global race, with the influential Environmental Audit Committee warning back in 2021 that gigafactories for electric vehicle batteries needed more government support. Previous suggestions that Tesla and Rivian wanted to choose the Gravity site failed to come to fruition.
Mr Norris continued: “We need an effective UK industrial strategy to ensure we benefit from the huge opportunities of net zero. We have a site that’s shovel ready so let’s now seal that deal.”