A WIND turbine company that made hundreds redundant in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has today announced plans to create 2,000 new jobs - in Kent.

The south was once home to the UK's only significant turbine production line until Vestas closed its Isle of Wight factory and sister facility in Southampton in 2009 with the loss of 400 jobs.

Staff famously staged a sit-in protest at the Newport facility to try to prevent its closure, drawing international attention.

But now the Danish-owned firm is applying for planning permission for a new plant at Sheerness in Kent to build turbines for the offshore wind industry.

A company spokesman said the new 70-hectare facility would be capable of manufacturing a larger turbine to prepare for “serial production” in 2015 - subject to enough demand.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, added: ''This is excellent news and shows that there are real jobs and huge opportunities for the UK in renewable energy.”

''The Government now needs to create the right regulatory framework to build a sustainable green economy.

''This must include removing the blockages to faster take-up of renewable energy, including giving the Green Investment Bank the ability to borrow money and setting ambitious renewable energy targets beyond 2020.''

Greenpeace called on the Government to ensure support for offshore wind, including improving skills and training, the electricity grid and the offshore planning regime and making sure planned reform of the energy market backs renewables rather than focusing on nuclear.