BOSSSES at the £3.8bn Britishvolt batteries plant being built near Blyth have made a pledge through The Northern Echo to local people desperate for work after its launch date was delayed.

Co-founder Orral Nadjari, who left as the company’s chief executive earlier this month but remains its largest shareholder, said the new start date was now likely to be three years away.

But the company has told The Northern Echo the latest announcement was "all in line with business plans."

Spokesperson Ben Kilbey said: "The factory will be built, the jobs will come, the area and the country will benefit.

"We will never be anything other than honest and pragmatic with the people of the North-East, but no one saw a war with global ramifications after a global pandemic which means everyone is suffering from the energy crisis.”

Nadjari confirmed to the FT a combination of factors would push production back until the middle of 2025.

“It does go hand-in-hand with the fact that we have inflation, we have a recession and we have geopolitical uncertainties. The main facility will be delayed slightly into mid 2025," he said.

Hexham Courant: Orral Nadjari and the Britishvolt vision near BlythOrral Nadjari and the Britishvolt vision near Blyth

A lot rests on the plans - as well as providing the UK with a home-grown source of batteries as the sector grows at such an astonishing rate, there are 8,000 jobs and a lot of hope riding on the outcome.

The project on a 93-hectare site at the former Blyth Power Station in Cambois is a major boost for the whole region, and as well as 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs, another 5,000 will be created in the associated supply chains.

Government funding believed to be around £100million was followed by a long-term partnership with Trixtax and abrdn that will deliver £1.7bn in private funding to help propel the UK’s energy transition on the road to net zero.

Then a partnership was announced with Aston Martin and it seemed like the idea was ready to be supercharged, but a lack of visible progress, the exit of the co-founder and now this delay will have Government, partners and eager customers on edge.