“Investigations” are underway into telecom masts that have been springing up across Bolton.

In recent months and years new poles being put up around the borough by telecommunications companies, including IX Wireless, and have led to public protests.

But masts that may have been put up without proper planning permission may be set to be hit by council enforcement action.

Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi said: “Many of you, like me, have been concerned for some time about the activities of IX Wireless and poles and antennae popping up across Bolton without prior warning.

“I have a further update from Bolton Council who have confirmed that they have finally come to a position on the installations.”

The Bolton News: Yasmin Qureshi speaking at a public protest against pole installationsYasmin Qureshi speaking at a public protest against pole installations (Image: Henry Lisowski)

Ms Qureshi says she has received word from the council that the poles themselves are classed as “permitted development” and can be put up without planning permission.

But in some cases, antennae were later installed without consulting the council or receiving permission.

The Bolton News understands that this means the council is planning to intervene with “enforcement” actions.

Ms Qureshi said: “I hope this will go some way to being the beginning of the end of this saga but please be assured I will keep monitoring the situation.

“I am grateful to the residents who have opposed this and the work they have done to continually keep this on the agenda locally.”

The installation of pole and masts across Bolton has led to widespread protests over the past several years.

The Bolton News: A public protest against a pole installation in HarwoodA public protest against a pole installation in Harwood (Image: Newsquest)

In April last year a public protest was held in the town centre and since then people have also turned out to protest in Harwood and Bromley Cross.

In April this year, a retired teacher held a sit-down protest outside his home on Hardy Mill Road, Harwood to try and prevent a pole from being installed.

But IX Wireless has said that it intends to work with Bolton Council where concerns have been raised about certain poles.

 A spokesperson for IX Wireless said: “As with all our infrastructure investment across the region, we actively engage with the local authorities who are notified of the work that is taking place.

“By doing so this has helped us to improve our service and also speak to local officials over any concerns that may be raised.

“We have a good working relationship with the Bolton Council and have been engaging with the authority during weekly meetings.

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“This has continued despite changes in personnel at the authority.

“Concerns have been raised over the placing of a few poles and we are investigating this.

“It must be noted that we are not the only company that has been looking at installing street structures of this kind.

“The industry is heavily regulated and all structures go through stringent tests and conform to industry and government standards.

“We will continue to have active discussions with council officials in Bolton and will look to address any issues as we have done in many other towns and cities across the North West.” 

In a statement to Ms Qureshi, the council said: "IX Wireless erected the poles as permitted development and then later installed the antenna, without consultation or consent from the Council. Prior Approval cannot retrospectively be applied for, so that has left the Council with enforcement as the only option to intervene.

"I confirm that the enforcement process is presently underway, and we have notified IX Wireless.

"I also confirm that all new infrastructure that utilises an antenna will be subject to Prior Approval, and to date the Council has not received any applications from IX Wireless."