THE arrival of 240 'green' jobs in Chepstow was welcomed by the local Friends of the Earth group.

Mabey Bridge will create jobs for welders and steel fabricators, at a site at Newhouse Farm Distribution Park, Mathern. The jobs are part of a £38million investment to build wind turbine towers for onshore and offshore wind farms in the UK.

Steve Rawlings of the group said: "The creation of 240 jobs in manufacturing towers for wind turbines at Chepstow is excellent news for the environment and the economy of Wales.

"It will be a significant boost to the Welsh Assembly Government's aim of creating thousands of green jobs in Wales and is particularly welcome following recent news of the loss of hundreds of jobs in manufacturing in Wales.

"The UK has the best wind energy potential in the whole of Europe. We must ensure that it reaps the full economic and environmental benefits of its development."

The new factory will make around 30 turbine towers, up to five metres wide and 40 metres in length, a year - making it the biggest manufacturer of wind turbine towers in the UK. Recruitment is expected to start in March and it is hoped work will begin by the end of the year once the company gets planning permission to extend the existing warehouse to create a section for painting and assembling the towers.

A planning application is currently being considered by Monmouthshire County Council.

Mabey Bridge already employs 400 people at its factories in Chepstow and Lydney, Gloucestershire, where the firm makes parts for steel bridges and car parks.

Project director, Peter Brooke, said: “A lot of the skills which are needed already exist in the local area and at our current site in Chepstow. There is huge potential here."