The Leader of Somerset Council has described plans which could see Somerset become the UK’s biggest producer of electric vehicle (EV) batteries as ‘momentous’ and of global significance.

Agratas, a new business within the Tata Group, has today started writing to thousands of local residents to confirm its plans to build a gigafactory producing EV batteries at the Gravity Smart Campus site in Puriton, near Bridgwater.

A £4 billion investment, the Agratas factory will create up to 4,000 jobs and many more as part of the supply chain. It will put Somerset at the centre of the UK’s green energy revolution with the potential to kick-start countywide and regional economic growth and jobs.

Councillor Bill Revans said:

This is momentous for the County, its economy and for future generations. It’s about seizing an incredible opportunity to be at the heart of the UK’s green energy industry that will create thousands of highly-skilled, well-paid, green jobs.

Agratas’ huge investment in the County has the potential to transform the local and regional economy.

He added that the Council’s experience with Hinkley Point C makes it uniquely well-placed to support the development of the site.

Together with Hinkley Point C and businesses like Leonardo, it shows that modern Somerset is leading the way in exciting, high-tech industry and puts us firmly on the international trade map.

We are committed to making this work for Somerset, its residents and our business community. We know how to deliver significant projects and work with communities to maximise the benefits of investment into our County.

It is envisioned that the plant will be operational in the second half of the decade, eventually producing 40GWh of battery cells annually, enough to supply approximately 500,000 passenger vehicles. Once fully operational, the factory is set to be Britain’s biggest battery factory, and one of the largest in Europe.

Over the next five years, the authority plans to invest in the infrastructure, skills, site access and connectivity needed to make sure Somerset benefits as much as possible from Agratas’ investment. This will be paid for by the Business Rates generated by the factory once it is operational.

The Council and Government are finalising an ‘in principle’ agreement for support, which will enable this massive long-term economic boost to the County to happen without extra cost to the Council and with no negative impact on the Council and its finances.

The Council’s Corporate and Resources Scrutiny committee will be asked to comment on the plans when it meets on the 7 March 2024. The Executive will then take decisions on the 12 March, including on the principle of the financial approach.

Early in the next financial year the Council expects to take further decisions through Full Council, including further details about the investment and how it will be funded.

Councillor Ros Wyke, Somerset Council’s Executive Lead Member for Economic Development, Planning and Assets, said:

This a very important day for the British car industry and our vision for Somerset. This puts Somerset on the map and sets out a bright future for our residents.

This investment will create thousands of skilled jobs in the green power industry that will bring a myriad of economic benefits to the County.

Agratas and the Council will be working with local colleges to deliver the comprehensive workforce and skills solution, including strategic links to other training and academic institutions, to help deliver the specialist skills needed for this project, and to maximise the opportunities for local people and businesses.

Infographic showing cost and benefits of the new gigafactory

About this article

February 28, 2024

Rebecca Howat

Press Release