‘I always believed in the people of the North East’ – Boris Johnson’s message as he visits Nissan's Sunderland plant on historic day
The Prime Minister has urged people to put the Brexit argument “behind them” when visiting Sunderland’s Nissan plant following the announcement that a new electric model and battery plant will be built on Wearside.
The car giant confirmed today, Thursday, July 1, that it will create a new facility in partnership with Japan-based Envision AESC.
Envision already operates a factory near the Sunderland plant, making batteries for the Nissan Leaf, however a new battery plant is coming to a nearby site, adding around £1billion worth of investment.
The Sunderland site is expected to open in the next few years, with support from the Government, and create jobs both directly and in Nissan’s supply chain.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the Sunderland plant following the announcement where he urged people to put Brexit fears to bed, with the time now being for the UK to pull together.
Mr Johnson said: "I just think that we all need to put that argument behind us now and look forward to the future that this country and obviously I think those fears were wildly overdone.
"I always believed in the people of the North East and always believed that investment would continue to come here just because of the natural skills, the strength of the economy and the resource that is here.
"You see that confidence from Nissan and Envision but this is also a moment for the UK to pull together and look at the opportunities and I think that the low carbon technology market is a massive thing for us.
"It’s driven by environmental and morale concerns in a way but it is also about delivering high valued, high skilled jobs that will last for generations to come.”
The revealing of plans for the new battery plant follow an announcement in December last year that the UK’s first gigaplant will be built by Britishvolt on the site where Blyth Power Station once stood.
Boris Johnson believes that the two North East sites could see the region become one of the leading areas for renewable energy resources within the UK.
The PM added: "If you talk to Nissan, they see this as the 360 hub that they want to build and we see the gigafactory here and what’s happening at Blyth as just the beginning and the UK is going to be the lead in all of this.
"It’s not just EVs (electric vehicles), this is about low carbon energy, it’s about wind, producing affordable hydrogen which is a great goal of this country and it’s about dealing with the emissions that come from people’s homes.
"There are technological solutions that we can find what will be affordable and that’s the great mission, to find the solutions like mass produced cheaper batteries that are genuinely affordable for everybody.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Thanks to Brexit I think Nissan is moving forward to use Brexit as an opportunity.
“Nissan’s announcement today is a major vote of confidence in the UK and our highly-skilled workers in the North East. It is a pivotal moment in our electric vehicle revolution securing its future for decades to come.”