Environmental Impact Support for West Midlands Gigafactory Planning Application

We recently assisted with the preparation and assessment of environmental considerations for a high-profile planning application for a Gigafactory based in the West Midlands.

A Gigafactory is a facility to manufacture batteries for the automotive sector, at scale. Such a facility is critical to the future of the electric automotive sector both in the West Midlands and the UK, given the rapid shift towards electric vehicles.

Wardell Armstrong co-ordinated the Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposals, as well as undertaking the assessments of Noise and Vibration, Air Quality, Climate Change, Risks of Accidents and Disasters, and Human Health.

The Gigafactory would deliver 5.7m sqft of space for both battery production and recycling, would add £434m in GVA to the regional economy each year, as well as create 6,000 new jobs and tens of thousands more in the supply chain.

The proposals also confirm that the Gigafactory will be powered by 100% green energy, using a combination of sources including solar and wind power, as well as grid supplied renewables, and will be able to recycle used batteries as well as build new ones in an industry-leading approach known as ‘cradle to cradle’.

The West Midlands offers one of the most competitive sites for a Gigafactory in the UK. Around 40% of the value of an electric vehicle is its battery and they are expensive and difficult to transport. As such, future manufacturing and investment decisions will be made in response to the location of battery production. A third of all cars produced in the UK come from the region which has unique access to existing supply chains. The region is home to Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin Lagonda, and BMW, whilst Coventry Airport is adjacent to the UK’s largest battery research centre, the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC).

The planning application has been submitted by joint venture partners, Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd and is set to be determined later in 2021.

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