The firm behind a plan to build a £3.8 billion gigafactory in Northumberland has entered administration.
The electric vehicle (EV) battery factory was expected to create 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs and another 5,000 indirect jobs in the wider supply chain, and had been touted as an example of ‘levelling up’.
However Britishvolt’s board is believed to have decided on Monday (January 16) that there were no viable bids to keep the company afloat. About 300 staff have been made redundant with immediate effect
Frank Gordon, director of policy at the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), said: “This highlights the need for an effective UK industrial strategy and supply chain support (similar to the U.’s Inflation Reduction Act) to capture the huge opportunities of net zero.
“Chris Skidmore’s Net Zero Review report made clear the opportunities and imperative of doing so just last week.
“Our thoughts are with the staff and affected families in the result of any redundancies and we hope that another player may take up this project as the location is widely seen as ideal for the production of batteries.”
Gordon continued: “The UK needs at least three such gigafactories and we must now urgently see progress towards this in order to get to net zero.”
The UK currently only has one Chinese-owned plant next to the Nissan factory in Sunderland, while 35 plants are planned or already under construction in the EU.
Joint administrators EY described the move as "disappointing", and said all impacted staff were being offered support.
Dan Hurd, joint administrator and partner at EY, said Britishvolt had offered "a significant opportunity to create jobs and employment, as well as support the development of technology and infrastructure needed to help with the UK's energy transition".
Hurd said the administrators would now explore options for a sale of the business and assets.
Ben Nelmes, chief executive of green motoring consultancy firm, New AutoMotive, said that the news pf Britishvolt's collapse was “deeply disappointing”, and a blow to the UK’s transition to cleaner, cheaper transport.
“Delays to the government's Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) mandate have created additional uncertainty around rates of EV uptake and future demand for EV batteries,” he added.
“The UK urgently needs a green industrial strategy to prevent the trickle of bad news about the UK car industry turning into a torrent in a few years' time.”
Last year, Britishvolt asked the Government to advance £30m of a promised £100m in support, but was refused as the company had not hit agreed construction milestones to access the funds.