PLANNING chiefs are being urged not to allow developers to build on green land in the parts of Bolton worst affected by poor air quality.

Members of Bolton Council’s corporate and external issues scrutiny committee were told the areas of the borough suffering the highest levels of air pollution are those nearest to the motorways, including Kearsley, Farnworth, Little Lever and Darcy Lever.

The blackspots were revealed by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) officers who gave an update on air quality when the committee met at the town hall this week.

Now committee members are calling on chiefs reworking the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework — which will dictate how the region’s land will is used over the next 20 years — to exclude the area’s green spaces from any development.

Cllr Sue Haworth, whose Harper Green ward has the highest asthma rates in the borough, said: “It seems entirely sensible to me that those redrawing up the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework could want to prevent allocating development of green land in areas where the air quality is the most highly polluted where people are living such as Harper Green.”

“This poor air quality in Harper Green means ward councillors could wish to keep green land in the ward as it acts as a green lung to improve the air quality. I recognise that I am talking about prioritising Harper Green ward green land in the way we prioritise the green belt in the borough and I think this idea has merit.”

Committee member Cllr Sean Hornby, who represents Little Lever and Darcy Lever, said he agreed with Cllr Haworth.

He said: “I asked what impact this has on the quality of health in this area and he said it could affect people’s health and she said it could, particularly respiratory problem.

“I wholeheartedly support not building on the greenbelt in these areas, it’s a big concern.”

Cllr Hornby added that he would be “quite prepared” to move a motion at a full council meeting to that effect.