TWO areas of Gwent failed to hit national recycling targets last year, according to new figures.

Torfaen and Caerphilly county borough councils both recorded rates of 61.3 per cent last summer - the Welsh Government target is currently 64 per cent.

This means means recycling in Caerphilly has fallen short of the required level in seven of the eight three-month reporting periods over the past two years.

The Welsh Government has laid out ambitions to be a world leader in recycling, and councils which fail to keep up risk being fined. Last summer, 67 per cent of waste was recycled nationwide.

The nation is the best in the UK and ranks third in the world in recycling rates, with climate change minister Julie James saying that is down to "a Team Wales effort".

Only three other council areas in Wales recorded worse recycling rates than Caerphilly and Torfaen last summer. They were Anglesey, Gwynedd, and Cardiff - some waste collections in the capital were reduced to monthly services last year while the council grappled with a HGV driver shortage.

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In other parts of Gwent, the most recent data shows recycling rates are better.

Monmouthshire County Council (72.7 per cent) continues to perform well, recording the fourth-highest rate in Wales between July and September 2021.

Newport City Council (68.4 per cent) also managed to meet the Welsh targets and recorded the ninth-best rate nationally.

And people living in the Blaenau Gwent council area achieved a 67 per cent recycling rate - the 13th-highest of Wales' 22 local authorities.

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Currently, councils must meet a 64 per cent target set by Welsh ministers, but as part of the nation's recycling strategy, that will be raised to 70 per cent in 2024-25.

Councils which fail to meet targets in a calendar year can face a range of penalties including hefty fines.

Previously, the Welsh Government said its "world-class recycling targets" had been unharmed by pandemic-related disruption, and ministers would "work with" councils that missed targets "to understand the reasons for the shortfall and to help ensure future targets are met".

A spokesperson added: "This work is critical to achieve our ambitions to become the world’s number one recycler and a zero waste nation by 2050."

Speaking this week, climate change minister Ms James said: "Despite the pandemic and all the challenges it bought with it, local authorities managed to prioritise recycling, the collectors worked heroically all the way through, and the fantastic people of Wales continued to recycle.

“We must now continue to raise our ambitions to reach zero waste by 2050 and net zero carbon emissions so we can tackle the climate and nature emergencies in earnest, and pass on a resilient, green and prosperous planet to our future generations.”