The Welsh Government has supported a proposal to create more than 130 new jobs in South Wales. Plans have been put in place to launch low-emission taxis in London by Norwegian company, Sapa, and they are investing more than £9.6m to re-open a unit in Bedwas, Caerphilly.
The facility will be manufacturing lightweight bodywork for the eco-friendly black cabs in the Capital City.
The investment, of which £550,000 is coming from the Welsh Government, comes at a crucial time as many manufacturers face growing uncertainty over Brexit. It is also timely for carmakers as they pursue plans to develop eco-friendly vehicles ahead of a planned action to ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars and vans in the UK from 2040.
Unfortunately, the plant closed in 2014 due to difficult market conditions, resulting in the loss of jobs. The re-opening brings back the same number of jobs over the next five years that were lost because of the closure.
London Electric Vehicle Company will be the first company to use the welsh-made bodywork in its plans to introduce a zero-emissions taxi policy to help reduce pollution in London.
Sapa said the support from the Welsh Government helped it to make the decision to use the south Wales plant over another European facility with spare capacity. The Bedwas site has been changed from an aluminium extrusion plant, to a new facility on the same site set-up to produce specialised automotive components.
Carwyn Jones, the Welsh first minister, said he was extremely pleased the facility in Bedwas would be operating again.
“The opening will create a range of new job opportunities and give a new lease of life to the area”.
There is an opportunity to create hundreds of new jobs at the plant in the future, expanding on the current number of positions that are being recruited. Production is due to start at the end of this year, with a steady increase over the next five years.