JTI is moving ahead with plans to close its manufacturing facility in Lisnafillan Northern Ireland.

The Benson & Hedges manufacturer blamed increasing regulatory and tax pressures for the closure, which is likely to affect 800 local jobs.

“After conducting the first phase of our consultation and having carefully considered the joint Unite employee and management counter-proposal as well as different alternatives, the company has come to the conclusion that our initial proposal to close the Lisnafillan facility remains the most viable option for JTI in the long-term,” Paul Williams, JTI UK’s head of corporate affairs said.

The first effect on jobs should not be felt until May 2016, which coincides with the implementation of the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive. The Directive will ban cigarettes in packs of less than 20 and rolling tobacco in pouches of less than 30g - wiping out 40% of the current market.

Production of JTI brands will gradually move from 2015 to other facilities in Poland and Romania.