CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a massive electric car battery plant at Coventry Airport are set to be considered by councillors this week.
The proposals for the so-called gigafactory at Coventry Airport – which would create some 6,000 jobs – are recommended to be given the green-light when Warwick District Council’s planning committee meets on January 11.
The gigafactory, which would be powered using 100 per cent green energy through solar, wind and grid supplied renewable power, is a joint venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd.
The majority of the proposed site falls in Warwick district which is why both the Warwick and Coventry councils will consider the plans for the plant, which would cover nearly 80 hectares – the equivalent of around 150 football pitches.
But there is strong opposition to the plans, most notably from Baginton and Bubbenhall Parish Council respectively, with both raising concern at the impact of such a large site on the green belt together with traffic concerns.
Others objecting include the All Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation, The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), and Royal Mail, which has a hub neighbouring the proposed site, have also all raised issues.
Save Coventry Airport campaigners also released a video yesterday presenting both sides of the argument and why they are objecting to the proposal. Click below to view it.
Yesterday Save Coventry Airport campaigners also held an open day at the Baginton site to highlight the ongoing battle to save it.
It featured fly-ins and static displays, along with other activities.
Steve Clark (director of Aerotech Maintenance Ltd) has previously said: “Closing Coventry Airport does nothing to support the aims and objectives of the NPPF in recognising the importance of our GA network of airfields.
“It would undermine DFT objectives of promoting and boosting the viability of UK General aviation.”
There are also many who back the plans, including local Conservative MPs Jeremy Wright (Kenilworth and Southam) and Mark Pawsey (Rugby).
Supporters point to the region being home to car manufacturers including Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin Lagonda, and BMW, while Coventry Airport was already next to the UK’s largest battery research centre, the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC).
And West Midlands mayor Andy Street is fully behind the plans.
He said: “It is mission critical that the West Midlands secures a gigafactory, both for the future of our region’s automotive industry and the huge economic and job benefits it would bring, as well as the future of our planet.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated in Parliament that a gigafactory in the West Midlands would contribute to ensuring the region ‘leads in building new electric vehicles for this country and for the world’.
The UK Government has made up to £500million funding available for gigafactories.
Go to savecoventryairport.co.uk for more on the campaign.