PROPOSALS have been announced to expand military operations at MoD St Athan.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox said in a statement on Monday (July 18) that this could also lead to the creation of new jobs, as plans were being outlined to develop additional units at the site.

It is understood that the proposals could lead to St Athan becoming a major centre for excellence for elite special forces.

"Plans to relocate additional defence units to St Athan are being developed, and if those plans come to fruition, they will bring a major uplift in employment at that base," he said.

"We intend to make an announcement before the end of the year."

Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cllr Gordon Kemp, welcomed news of the expansion, after the planned £14 billion Defence Technical College at St Athan was scrapped last year.

"In view of this and the dire state of public finances generally, I am delighted that further special forces personnel are likely to be located at St Athan," he said.

"A special forces centre of excellence at St Athan will mean that, at the very least, there is a sustainable future for our armed forces in the Vale."

Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns described the expansion as ‘an exciting development that changes the direction of the base’.

He added that he had met with defence secretary Liam Fox to discuss the details surrounding the proposals.

"There will be a significant expansion on the site and it will become a centre of excellence for Special Forces Support," he said.

"It is unfortunate that the nature of Special Forces means that only limited information is made public.

"As a result, I am delighted that the Secretary of State has agreed to come to speak to community leaders to explain in more detail the expansion of operations at the site."

The Special Forces Support Group directly supports special forces teams around the world and provides counter-terrorist expertise. It started operating on April 3, 2006, at St Athan.

Personnel were drawn from the Parachute Regiment, the Royal Marines, and the Royal Air Force Regiment.