LEVELS of recycling have increased in all areas of Gwent, but Blaenau Gwent continued to see the lowest level in Wales.

Figures released this morning show 61 per cent of waste in Newport was recycled in the year up to the end of March 2017, up from 57 per cent in the previous 12 months.

Although Blaenau Gwent saw a five per cent increase over the same period from 49 per cent to 54 per cent, this is the lowest level in Wales. The borough is also the only area in Wales not to meet the Welsh Government's target of 58 per cent.

Monmouthshire had the highest level in Gwent, and the third highest in Wales overall, at 69 per cent, up from 62 per cent, while Caerphilly's rate was up from 62 per cent to 66 per cent.

Torfaen was also up from 57 per cent to 64 per cent.

Across Wales as a whole 64 per cent of waste was recycled in the 12 months to March, up from 60 per cent the year before.

The Welsh Government has set statutory targets of recycling 58 per cent by 2016-17, 64 per cent by 2019-20 and 70 per cent of waste by 2024-25.

Wales' environment and rural affairs secretary Lesley Griffiths said: “These latest recycling figures make for extremely satisfying reading. They reveal the waste we are generating is decreasing while the amount we recycle continues to rise.

“We should be extremely proud of our recycling performance here in Wales. This is an area where we lead the way in the UK and indeed just two countries in the whole world recycle now more than we do. 

“We are always looking at how we can continue to improve. Only last week I announced I intend to consult on plans to halve food waste by 2025.

"I am confident this is achievable thanks to the continued efforts of local authorities and householders’ commitment to recycling.

"Today’s figures prove they clearly share our ambition for Wales to become a zero waste nation by 2050”.