125 jobs at turbine factory axed
The Government has come under attack for its decision to curb onshore wind after a turbine factory announced plans for closure with the loss of 125 jobs.
Steel manufacturer Mabey Bridge said it is proposing to close its renewables division in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, with the "uncertainty of market conditions for the UK onshore wind industry" in the longer term a contributing factor.
The move follows a failure in exhaustive efforts to find a buyer for the business as a going concern, the company said.
The news comes after the Government announced it was ending subsidies for new onshore wind farms a year early, to meet a pre-election pledge to halt the development of onshore wind.
Juliette Stacey, chairman of Mabey Bridge, said: "This is not a decision that we have taken lightly and we understand that this is a very difficult time for our people. Since December 2014, we have made every effort to try to find a buyer.
"The uncertainty of market conditions for the UK onshore wind industry in the longer term has been a contributing factor.
"The priorities for us now are to support our affected employees in whatever way we can, and to ensure that the longer-term future of Mabey Bridge as a whole is secure."
A Welsh Government spokesman said: "This is bad news and clearly comes as a direct result of the UK Government's recent announcement to end onshore wind subsidies.
"This has created uncertainty for the onshore wind industry and we warned of the possible consequences at the time.
"The Economy Minister has already been in contact with Mabey Bridge management to offer our further assistance to the company to help secure a suitable buyer for the Newhouse site and to offer support to current employees to help assist them into alternative employment or retraining."
Dr Doug Parr, Greenpeace policy director, said: "The potential job losses in the Monmouthshire wind turbine factory are a stark example of what could happen across the board if the Treasury doesn't get behind the expanding renewables sector.
"The Government should focus on delivering imaginative and progressive ways to reduce the cost of clean energy and create confidence for an array of projects, such as onshore wind, that will tackle energy security and climate change.
"The Government urgently needs a coherent renewable energy strategy suitable for the growth industries of the 21st century. Policies based on outmoded thinking and old technology are bad for business, the economy and the climate."