EAST Lancashire firms are benefitting from the £40million Pennine Reach scheme as new bus shelters have been produced in East Lancashire.

Darwen firms WEC Lasers in Junction Street and Almond and Mellor in Grimshaw Street have helped with the preparation of stainless steel, with local suppliers also used for fittings and other engineering processes.

The shelters, part of a £1.1million project, have then been made by Euroshel at their manufacturing facility in Rawtenstall.

The first bus shelter was installed in Darwen recently and more will be installed as work progresses.

Coun Maureen Bateson, executive member for regeneration, said: “Utilising local companies on key projects such as Pennine Reach is a great way to invest in local people.

Businesses within Blackburn with Darwen, and Lancashire as a whole, being part of this project ensures that our communities truly see the benefit from this major investment.”

Steve Hartley, managing director of the WEC Group, said: “As a community focused company, we believe that effective local procurement is the way forward and it is great news that we have been identified as the laser cutting contractor for this new investment from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

“There are many local companies like ours that are part of this new scheme and the benefits for employment in the local community are undeniable.”

The Pennine Reach scheme will see transport links between Blackburn, Darwen and Accrington transformed and includes new bus stations for Accrington and Blackburn.

Work on the £5million new bus station in Blackburn began this week.