PLANS to build a composting facility capable of recycling up to 30,000 tonnes of waste by the A46 near Tormarton have been announced.

A planning application is due to be submitted by SITA in the next two months proposing an 'In-vessel composting plant' at the site next to the Highways depot.

The facility would ensure that South Gloucestershire Council achieves its target of recycling 50 per cent of household waste.

The company had recently withdrawn a planning application for a similar plant near Westerleigh which met with a great deal of opposition among residents.

A SITA spokesman said: "The site we are proposing is adjacent to the Highways Agency depot and is previously developed brownfield land.

"It is an ideal location as there is a good road network and it is within close proximity to the area it will serve.

"It will reduce the number of large lorry journeys currently required to move waste out of South Gloucestershire to other areas and enable us to collect food waste.

"Of course the application is currently only in the pre-planning stage. All the relevant councils will have the opportunity to voice their concerns before the planning application is made, hopefully within the next month or two."

It is expected that the application will be considered by the council later this summer and if approved, the facility will be operational around 12 months after planning permission is granted.

Cllr John Wells, chairman of Tormarton Parish Council, expressed surprise at the news.

"We've only heard informally at the moment so we will obviously need some time to consider the proposals.

"We really don't know what the impact will be, but we were hoping for the council to enlarge car parking facilities - not to build a compost site," he said.

Northavon MP Steve Webb had a guarded welcome for the proposal.

He said: "This site would certainly be less of an eyesore than the Westerleigh proposal.

"However, people in Tormarton and West Littleton will want reassurance about noise, smells and other environmental issues.

"We will, of course, want to know the impact that these new plans will have on these residents."

Sue Hope, South Gloucestershire Councillor for Cotswold Edge, was also surprised at the news.

She said: "We certainly need to know much more about the impact that these proposals will have on the residents and that both the parish councils and residents are kept fully informed about the developments.

"In addition, we have been campaigning for an extension to the car parking facilities in this Area Of Natural Beauty (AONB) for eight years and I would also hope that this issue can also be brought forward at this time."