Plans have been approved for a £5m green infrastructure project linked to a Low Carbon Innovation Hub that will support tech companies as they focus on developing low carbon technologies.
Funding has been agreed which will transform an existing building at MIRA Technology Park into a low carbon research centre, bringing with it transformational charging and testing infrastructure for electric and hydrogen vehicles.
The investment will be made through a partnership between the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council (HBBC) and site owner MIRA Technology Park.
The new Low Carbon Innovation Hub will entail the £2.5m refurbishment by HORIBA MIRA of the existing technology building, which fronts the A5.
This will be supported by a £2.5m investment from the LLEP and HBBC in the installation of significant electrical vehicle (EV) and hydrogen infrastructure to aid safe testing and handling of EV and related systems at the Leicestershire Enterprise Zone site.
The charging infrastructure will help engineers and scientists on the site to further research and development around battery development, hydrogen fuel cells and other low carbon and alternative fuel technologies.
The £2.5m LLEP investment in the low carbon infrastructure leverages the delivery of the Innovation Hub, thereby attracting a growing number of players in the transport sector which are developing low-carbon technologies.
LLEP Interim Chair Andy Reed OBE said: “The Low Carbon Innovation Hub supports the LLEP’s goal for coming years of supporting economic growth through sustainability and innovation.
“The site offers world-class facilities to the mobility sector. Projects such as this will help it continue bringing in employers and creating quality jobs while also supporting wider low carbon testing and development.”
A planning application for the project has now been approved by HBBC.
Bill Cullen, Chief Executive, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, said: “I welcome this further investment in low carbon technologies at MIRA Technology Park, which is a world class facility on our doorstep in Hinckley and Bosworth.
“This will strongly align to the delivery of the council’s ambitions around climate change and carbon reduction and boosting local jobs in this sector.”
Companies based at the technology park are at the forefront of the latest automotive technologies. It is a location of choice for attracting foreign direct investment.
As well as investment in the development of low carbon technologies, the site has made significant investment in facilities for testing autonomous vehicles.
Tim Nathan, Managing Director at MIRA Technology Park, said:
We’re continually investing in maintaining our position as a leading hub for the development of low carbon technologies and R&D.
With the industry undergoing a revolution in mobility technologies, these investments futureproof our capability ensuring we can best support businesses across the technology, engineering, and advanced manufacturing sectors.
A separate, recently-submitted, planning application sought permission to build a new £6.25m gateway infrastructure at the site.
Supported by LLEP investment, the gateway will help to unlock the next major phase of the £300m planned development and create hundreds of new jobs.