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LONDON: Indian conglomerate Tata Group will invest over £4 billion ($5.2 billion) in a giant battery plant in southwest England that will create thousands of jobs, the UK government and the company said on Wednesday.

“Tata Group will be setting up one of Europe’s largest battery cell manufacturing facilities in the UK. Our multi-billion-pound investment will bring state-of-the-art technology to the country,” said Tata chairman N. Chandrasekaran.

The factory – Tata Group’s first gigafactory outside India – will be built in Somerset after the site reportedly beat off competition from Spain.

Production is due to begin at the factory in 2026.

The investment will boost the UK’s battery manufacturing capacity – critical to supporting the electric vehicle industry.

Britain plans to ban the sale of new high-polluting diesel and petrol cars from 2030, forcing its car manufacturing sector to switch production to electric vehicles.

That target is part of its long-standing goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in order to help tackle climate change.

UK Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said in a statement the multibillion-pound investment demonstrated that the “government has got the right plan when it comes to the automotive sector”.

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