New legal powers that could fine people up to £1,000 have come into force to prevent wildfires around Bolton.

The public space protection order has come into force across parts of Bolton, Darwen and Chorley banning any activities on moorland that could risk causing wildfires.

This can include lighting barbeques, building or lighting campfires or camping stoves, lighting fireworks, or setting off night-sky paper lanterns.

Bolton Council cabinet member for regulatory services, Cllr Sue Haworth, said: “Wildfires on our moorlands are a danger to the public and to the natural environment which includes animals and birds.

“These fires can devastate farmland, cause air and water pollution, release large amounts of greenhouse gases and have a huge impact on residents, communities, businesses and tourism.

The Bolton News: The order is aimed at preventing wildfiresThe order is aimed at preventing wildfires (Image: Phil Taylor)

“Bolton Council formally consulted on implementing a public space protection order to reduce fire risk on our moorlands, and I am pleased that over 90 per cent of responders strongly support taking this action.”

The order has been adopted by Bolton, Blackburn with Darwen and Chorley Councils together with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and will apply on any land or premises where there is no public access or right of way.

But is does not prevent residents living in the area from using barbeques or setting off fireworks in their own gardens.

Blackburn with Darwen Council cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Jim Smith, said: “The Darwen moorland wildfire in May 2020, that was caused by a disposal barbecue, had a huge impact on local wildlife.

“Over 300 breeding birds were killed, endangered species were destroyed and the natural habitats for other species were also ruined.

“We know that the majority of people enjoy our moorland public space responsibly, and these people won’t be affected by this PSPO.”

ALSO READ: Walkers to one of Bolton's most visited areas warned that they could face a fine

ALSO READ: Winter Hill wildfire remembered almost five years on

ALSO READ: Bolton firefighter on escaping the wildfires in Greek holiday island of Rhodes

He added: “Together with Chorley and Bolton Councils, we are adopting this PSPO to prevent the small minority of individuals from committing anti-social behaviour with fire on our moorland that can cause serious devastation for our wildlife and habitats.”

The new order will now last for the next three years and will require people or organisations to apply for exemptions if they want to light a fire for a community event.

They will be given written consent if they are able to meet the rules and regulations.

A person will be guilty of an offence if they breach the prohibitions within the prohibition area, without first obtaining written consent.