A scheme to help Midland companies tap into the lucrative wind turbine market has had its funding cut off.

The Wind Supply Project, run by the British arm of the Business Council for Sustainable Development, aimed to revitalise the declining manufacturing and engineering sectors by setting up supply chains in wind energy.

The five-year scheme, which had Government backing and a £400,000 injection from Advantage West Midlands, has been dropped at the end of its funding period.

However, AWM said the scheme has proved "extremely successful" in helping firms secure contracts. The regional development agency also said it would look at ways to build on the project's success.

BCSD-UK CEO David Middleton said: "We simply have no alternative. We cannot subsidise this. It was our idea to try and enliven a UK response to the growing needs of the wind energy industry at a time when the manufacturing and engineering sector is in decline.

"Here is a £25 billion market for the sort of stuff we have been making for decades for the bus, train, aero and auto industries. It is a classic diversification opportunity."

"It is sad to pull the plug now. We have been more than grateful for the funding from the two Midlands RDAs and others and from the

Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and it is ironic to end the project just when a real momentum has gathered in the wind energy industry."

The project financed workshops, presence at high profile international exhibitions and helped set up product innovation groups.

Wind turbines contain engineered components West Midlands' companies are experienced in, such as castings and gears. While many large components are produced near the installation site, high value components tend to be imported.

AWM's Business Development Manager for Environmental Technologies Cluster, Ralph Hep-worth, said: "The project has been active since 2003 and has been extremely successful, with a number of notable successes. We will be looking to build on this in the future with further supply chain work for renewable energy. This is a marketplace where the West Midlands can be very successful.

"We have planned further funding for work in this area and have a call for projects in this area out at present. We anticipate quite a lot of interest."

Among the firms to benefit from the project are Walsall company Hydratight and West Bromwich's Tentec, who are supplying bolt-tensioning tools and equipment and hydraulic nuts. Rugbybased REDS (Reach Engineering and Diving Services) has won a contract working on turbines off the north Wales coast.