UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced that North East England is to become the UK's first Low Carbon Economic Area specialising in ultra-low carbon vehicles as Nissan confirmed its intention to invest more than �200m over the next five years in a new battery factory in Sunderland. Gordon Brown said: "Nissan's investment in a new battery plant and its hope to start producing electric vehicles in Sunderland is great news for the local economy, creating up to 350 direct jobs and creating and safeguarding hundreds more in the associated supply chain. "This investment is also hugely significant as we embark on Building Britain's Future, our plan for recovery and beyond powered by low carbon, high technology industries, products and services. "Sunderland could now be a strong contender to produce electric vehicles for Nissan in Europe, and we will continue to work with Nissan to ensure this happens."