A project with the aim of bringing 3,000 jobs to the northeast will take another step forward today with the start of construction preparations.

Britishvolt, which plans to build a gigafactory near Blyth, Northumberland to build batteries for electric vehicles, is handing over the site to construction partner ISG to begin work.

Planning permission for the factory was granted by Northumberland County Council earlier this year, although Britishvolt still has more than £ 1 billion to raise to turn its plans into reality.

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However, the company said the start of the enabling work marks a “major milestone” for the project, which will hopefully create 3,000 direct jobs and another 5,000 in its supply chain.

Richard McDonell, Britishvolt Project Leader, said: “Today is a historic day as it marks the start of construction on Britain’s premier giant plant, Britishvolt, a landmark event for UK manufacturing and the automotive industry on the way to zero. It is a pleasure to see that our Tier 1 construction partner ISG and its first-class employees are starting the preparatory work on site ahead of the main construction program, which is expected to begin in late autumn / early winter. During this first phase, the site will be cleared and the preparatory work will be carried out for the services and infrastructure that will support the construction activity.

“This is another milestone on our way to building the UK’s first full gigabyte system. It’s a boost for UK plc and the real kick-start of the energy transition, with batteries from Britishvolt taking center stage. “

Britishvolt hopes to begin the full construction phase of the project later this year, which will employ around 2,500 people to start producing batteries by the end of 2023.

Peter Millett, High-Tech Managing Director of ISG’s Engineering Services business: “The positive dynamism, passion and the feeling of genuine enthusiasm that underpin this nationally important project are driving the entire team forward quickly, and this significant construction milestone shows our shared commitment for the UK manufacturing and supporting communities in Northumberland.

“This is the starting point for the transformation of a disused site in Cambois with a legacy of industrial past that will from now on become a beacon of innovation and advanced manufacturing here in the northeast.”

The new development at the Cambois site was welcomed by Glen Sanderson, Chairman of Northumberland County Council.

He said: “It is great to see the on-site work getting started in a location where the council and partners have been actively involved in recent years to make it attractive to investors.

“The work behind the scenes has continued briskly since we granted the building permit, so it’s fantastic to see construction get going – not just for the city council and Britishvolt, but for everyone in the county.

“With thousands of jobs in the pipeline and billions of dollars in investment, this is good news for Northumberland and the wider region.”

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