One of Melksham’s biggest employers is set to benefit from £1m government investment, to improve its energy efficiency and help safeguard almost 1,000 jobs.

Cooper Tires has been awarded the funds as part of the Department of Business, Skills and Innovation’s Regional Growth Fund, which will be used to build a combined heat and power plant at the factory and install solar panels on the roof, making the site more environmentally friendly.

The move has been welcomed by the town’s MP Duncan Hames, who spoke in favour of the bid in Parliament.

He said: “I am delighted that the Coalition Government is supporting one of our largest local employers.

“Back in March, I gave this bid my wholehearted support and promoted it to Government Ministers in Parliament.

“Helping energy intensive industries like this generate clean renewable energy is good for the environment and good for local employment. I believe the investment the company is making should put its Melksham operation on a firmer footing for the future.”

The tyre manufacture, which was recently bought by Indian firm Apollo Tyres, is one of 104 firms to benefit from the scheme.

This fourth round of funding will see a £506 million pot distributed nationwide, which aims to attract private sector investment and create thousands of jobs across the country.