UK: Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Powys County Council have granted planning approval for a proposed rolling stock, infrastructure and technology testing facility to be built on a former open cast mine site.
The Global Centre of Rail Excellence would ‘help create the next generation of high quality jobs, attracting new investment and opportunities for local people, driving new technologies and innovation, and helping us to realise our ambition of creating a stronger and more prosperous economy, in a greener, cleaner and stronger Wales’, said the Welsh government’s Economy Minister Vaughan Gething on August 9.
The Welsh government and the two councils formed a joint venture in 2019 to support project development and delivery, and a land option deal has been completed which will see Celtic Energy gift the required land at the Nant Helen surface mine and Onllwyn coal washery.
Celtic Energy is the first commercial partner in the project, although a dedicated GCRE company is to be established as the project transitions from government-led, supported by industry to industry-led, supported by government.
The Welsh government is to provide £50m for the facility, and the UK government will contribute £30m.