THE first phase of construction has begun on a multi-million pound recycling plant that will bring hundreds of jobs to Flintshire.

Workers are currently clearing the site earmarked for the materials recovery facility at UPM’s paper mill in Shotton ahead of the steel work being put up over the summer.

Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones visited the site yesterday after the Welsh Assembly government pledged £1.7 million towards the cost of the £17 million facility.

He said: “Green jobs will play a key part in the development of the Welsh economy and modern recycling facilities like this one will be central to this.

“The Welsh Assembly government is delighted that we have been able to support this investment which is an important boost for the economy of North East Wales and will deliver long term benefits for the region.

“This is an example of government action making a difference on the ground and investing in our future.”

The construction phase is expected to generate about 150 jobs and a further 160 posts will become available when the plant is operating at full capacity and is due to be completed by January 2011.