Ground has been broken on the site of the UK’s first electric car battery Gigaplant in Northumberland. The Britishvolt project, on the site of the coal stocking yard of the old Blyth Power Station, secured planning permission from Northumberland County Council in July by unanimous decision.
With development now underway, LDA Design can roll out a landscape strategy that will significantly improve the surrounding biodiversity.
De-culverting watercourses and the creation of attenuation basins will result in new wetlands on the site’s boundaries. A belt of woodland to the southeast will be enhanced and the road connecting to the site will become a landscape corridor framed by dune-like landforms, inspired by neighbouring Cambois beach. A natural acoustic barrier will stifle noise and extensive planting will mitigate visual impact. A new park will create an attractive recreation space for staff and visitors, and on-site swales will manage surface water.
This part of the Northeast coastline has long been shaped by industry. The Cambois colliery (closed 1968) and Blyth port are both close by, and the coal-fired Blyth Power Station occupied the site until it was decommissioned. However, the roughly 95-hectare brownfield site is surrounded by national ecological designations. LDA Design’s approach focuses on taking every possible opportunity to enhance local biodiversity, as well as providing a stimulating work environment for the plant’s employees and visitors.
Nicola Longland, LDA Design lead for the project:
“The Britishvolt Gigaplant is a critical step forward for the UK as it is moves towards 2050 net zero targets. We wanted to make sure it was a significant opportunity for the local environment too – a chance to repair and restore an industrial landscape, reconnect it to the local ecology and strengthen biodiversity.”
Peter Rolton, Britishvolt UK CEO:
“Low-carbon, sustainable, ethical batteries are essential for a successful transition to cleaner energy, critical in the face of climate breakdown. Our new £2.6bn plant will be phase one operational by late 2023 onwards. It is expected to bring up to 3,000 direct jobs into the area. With a further 5,000 in the supply chain. The millions of low carbon cells produced by Britishvolt will create around 300,000 EV batteries each year when fully operational from end 2027 onwards. These cells will help the UK towards a more sustainable, low carbon future in the race to zero.”