BLAENAU Gwent council has submitted plans to open a new £2.5m waste management site in the county as it seeks to avoid further Welsh Government fines.

Planning documents have revealed the council was fined £77,800 for failing to meet national recycling targets in 2016/17, which it has already paid in full.

A council report says the projected fine for this year is around £120,000.

Welsh Government says no decision on this year's fine has been made, but confirmed the council has already paid £77,800 for failing to meet last year's target.

The authority failed to hit the national target of 58 per cent last year and had the lowest recycling record in Wales for the fourth year year running at 56 per cent.

A planning application has been lodged to open a second household waste recycling facility at Roseheyworth Business Park in Abertillery.

The centre is aimed at improving facilities for residents in the south of the borough who currently live closer to waste centres outside of the borough.

Plans are for the site to operate alongside the one other waste centre in the borough at New Vale, Ebbw Vale.

It is hoped the new centre will "reduce the burden" on the New Vale site and reduce traffic problems at peak times.

The application says it is expected the centre will have environmental benefits by reducing fly-tipping in the Ebbw Fach Valley.

The facilities available would be based on those at the New Vale site with a wide range of materials able to be recycled.

A shop where residents will be able to purchase recycled goods at reduced costs will also be included in the development.

An assessment of the Roseheyworth junction onto the A467 will be made as part of the development to ensure the site is suitable to cater for additional traffic.

The centre will require a permit and will be regulated by Natural Resources Wales.

Under the plans the development would result in the loss of a woodland area planted in the 1990s.

However the remaining woodland, which serves to screen the site from the A467, would be maintained and managed for the long-term.

A design and access statement says the development would increase recycling by making it easier for site staff to interact with residents and support segregation of recyclables.

The Welsh Government is expecting all local authorities to meet a statutory recycling target of 64 per cent in 2019/20, and 70 per cent in 2024/25.

Failure to reach these targets can result in the council being fined £200 for every tonne it is below the required amount.

The council introduced black bag sorting at the New Vale site this year and initial findings show residual tonnages have decreased by 80 per cent.

The planning application says the development will help the authority increase its recycling rate in line with Welsh Government targets.