Britishvolt insists electric vehicle battery gigafactory 'will be built' at Blyth after latest delay

Production at the plant in Northumberland was initially expected to begin by the end of 2023. Credit: Britishvolt

A councillor has said he understands fears after the long-awaited Britishvolt gigafactory was hit by a further six month delay - but insisted he still believes the project will get done.

Production at the plant in Northumberland was initially expected to begin by the end of 2023, but this was later pushed back to the end of 2024 and is now expected in the middle of 2025.

The company have described it as a "six month adjustment" and blamed global geopolitical issues as well as inflationary pressures, but also added that it remained committed to the plant at Cambois, near Blyth.

Councillor Alex Wallace, who represents the area on Northumberland County Council, moved to reassure residents that he still firmly believed the factory would be built.

He said: "I remember when the pits closed in 1968, and that's how long we have waited for something like this. We've had so many disappointments here, so I think people are putting two and two together and getting five.

"It has got to be disappointing for everybody, particularly if you're looking for well-paid work, but I'm confident it will still happen. I've got more than my fingers crossed.

"There has been a lot of money that has been spent to get to where they are at now. If you were opening a business and you had inflation and the rising costs of energy and fuels and the massive global problems, would you do it now?"

'The factory will be built'

Britishvolt has said the factory, which is set to supply the likes of Lotus and Aston Martin, will create thousands of jobs for the area.

Britishvolt spokesman Ben Kilbey said: "The factory will be built, the jobs will come, the area and the country will benefit.

"We will never be anything other than honest and pragmatic with the people of the North East, but no-one saw a war with global ramifications after a global pandemic which means everyone is suffering from the energy crisis.

"Domestic battery production will ultimately lead to energy independence.

"Plans remain on track and are agile and nimble to counter external market forces. On top of current inflationary pressures, and an increase in interest rates, we are also seeing ballooning energy costs on the back of geopolitical uncertainties.

"We are also living through a global energy crisis, of which no-one is immune. What it highlights is the fact that batteries are essential for a successful energy transition and energy independence.

"Our key priority is the success of the business and playing a vital role in the energy transition."

Council leader Glen Sanderson has said the authority is continuing to work with Britishvolt to ensure it can unlock all possible opportunities for funding.

It comes after executive chairman Peter Rolton told Business Live the Government had "not been very helpful" in its handling of promised support.

Cllr Sanderson said: "We continue to work closely with Britishvolt and are assisting them in unlocking opportunities for further funding.

"We are confident they are doing all they can to counteract any impact they may face due to the current economic situation and they have already put in place measures.

"Their funding strategy is clear and follows already tried and tested routes on major projects like this."