WEST Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has welcomed a decision by Tata, the Indian owner of Jaguar Land Rover, to choose Bridgwater over Spain for its new gigafactory.
The former Royal Ordnance factory in Puriton, now named the Gravity site, will house an electric car battery factory bringing about 9,000 jobs to the area.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak held secret talks in May with Tata chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran in an attempt to kick-start Britain’s efforts to join the global race for electric car production.
Tata asked for £500 million of State assistance from the UK, including subsidies for the Somerset factory’s high-energy use, a one-off grant from the Government’s £1 billion automotive transformation fund, and road improvements to the site near the M5 motorway.
Mr Liddell-Grainger said he was delighted Somerset had won the tug of war to accommodate the Tata development.
He said: “We have a huge, ready-made site with amazing transport links and the finest workforce in Britain.
“We also have an extraordinary team at Gravity who have made this possible and the efforts of Sedgemoor District Council also deserve special mention.
“They pushed for this breakthrough behind the scenes.
“If it was not for Sedgemoor we probably would not have anything to celebrate at all.”
A Nuclear South West spokesperson said: "We welcome Tata’s confirmation of plans to build their flagship electric car battery factory in the South West, close to Bridgwater.
"The South West is an established base for manufacturing and already plays a fundamental role in the move towards net zero.
"Thanks to Hinkley Point C, the new Jaguar Land Rover site will sit at the heart of a capable and competent supply chain - with a skilled workforce readily available.
"Tata have made a smart decision to base in the nuclear and green energy centre of the South West.”
Cornish Lithium founder and chief executive Jeremy Wrathall said: "The announcement of the Tata gigafactory in Somerset represents a significant stride in fortifying the UK's electric vehicle manufacturing supply chain as the UK develops this vital industry to support its automotive sector.
“Through our own lithium development projects, we aim to work with the UK automotive supply chain to supply a significant portion of the lithium carbonate or hydroxide required for electric car batteries, diminishing the need for imports, thus reducing the carbon footprint associated with battery manufacturing.
“This new gigafactory signifies a strategic investment, creating job opportunities, and fostering innovation.
"We welcome the fact that the Government is clearly stepping up efforts to support the electric vehicle and battery supply chain in the UK and are delighted that the new gigafactory will be located in the South West, in close proximity to our Trelavour Lithium project which is scheduled to start production during 2026.
“The journey towards net zero is not only about reducing emissions, but also about building resilient supply chains, and this gigafactory is a remarkable step towards laying the groundwork to achieve that vision in the UK."
The Mayor of Bridgwater, Cllr Mick Lerry, said: “Finally, the Government has agreed to provide investment incentives in the battery plant at Gravity.
"This will support the electric car industry and support many local high skilled jobs for local people.
"Bridgwater and Taunton College is ready to train the local workforce needed for this green development.
"Hopefully, this will mean that Britain will catch up with other industrial economies.
"The huge subsidy needed to secure Tata Motors interest in the Gravity site shows the importance of Government investment for electric cars.
"It will now be important to make sure that local people and businesses in Bridgwater are ready to take advantage of the green investment at Gravity”.