A shake-up of ITV news operations has put 40 editorial and production jobs at risk and seen Central West gain a further county.

The company has revealed that Central South and Meridian West will close and be replaced by a new Thames Valley service.

It announced a number of changes to its regional news provision, admitting that some staff will face "very significant" change.

ITV Central's managing director Ian Squires said consultations were under way with unions over the job losses.

No staff were earmarked to go from Central West or Central East and he said the integrity of the news operation would not be hit.

Herefordshire would be combined into the Central West area under the plan.

Mr Squires said: "There has always been a great affinity between Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and Worcestershire forms part of our Central West area. Part of the reason for the re-organisation is to re-draw the map so the regional areas have increased relevance for our viewers."

Abingdon-based Central South covers an area including Oxford, Hereford and Ross-on-Wye. Meridian West, based in Hampshire, covers an area including Newbury, Reading and Winchester.

A spokesman for ITV confirmed up to 40 jobs faced the axe but he said it was hoped to absorb as many as possible elsewhere in the organisation.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said the news was a "sad day" for staff and viewers.

Paul McLaughlin, the NUJ's broadcasting officer, said: "These changes will do a great deal of damage to ITV's news service and demonstrate ITV's lack of commitment to proper regional news.

"We will be taking this up with the employers and expect them to give us a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies."

Sharon Elliott, of the broadcasting workers' union Bectu, said: "One of the company's first acts after the merger in 2003 was to cut regional news services, helped by the Ofcom review into public service broadcasting.

"Roughly 100 news-facing technical and support jobs were lost as a result of that earlier painful exercise. Once again, ITV plc's bigger cost-cutting priorities have allowed the axe to fall on regional services.

"We do not accept that services to regional audiences can be improved by cutting staff numbers and increasing the demands on a reduced workforce. The company's claims are insincere."

ITV said in May that its sees half-year advertising revenues falling about four per cent from the previous year, blaming a tough advertising market and a decline in revenues at its flagship television station.

In a statement at its annual general meeting, Britain's biggest commercial broadcaster said it expected total television market net advertising revenue (NAR) to rise 3.3 per cent in the second quarter from the year-earlier period.

The company said regional advertising revenues for the half-year are expected to rise by almost 16 per cent to £97 million

Second-quarter ad revenues at ITV's digital channels, were 50 per cent higher at £39 million.