CONCERNS have been raised over the dangers of unchecked potentially hazardous sites in Oldham.

Environment Agency figures analysed by publication ENDS identifies a number of borough sites which may be harmful.

An interactive map shows land on Whitefield Dairy Farm in Shaw, Higginshaw Lane and Royton Junction, Greenacres Congregational Church, Deanshut Clough and Hardman Fold in Failsworth contains hazardous waste.

It also reveals sites on Chadderton Landfill and Greengate Industrial Estate.

Across England and Wales, ENDS says it has identified "1,287 of old landfill sites containing hazardous waste, which would pose a risk to human and health and the environment if it were to escape".

After seeing the report, Liberal Democrats Cllr Sam Al-Hamdani contacted Oldham Council to ask if the local authority was still proactively monitoring potentially contaminated sites in the borough as per its land strategy policy which was adopted in 2001 and updated in 2017.

He was told there are 6,500 sites which are potentially contaminated in Oldham, including the ones on the map, but none have been proactively investigated.

Cllr Al-Hamdani said: "The council seem to be working off a balance of probabilities, not what the policy states.

"I think it was important that the policy was created to investigate land but if it has changed why has it not been updated. It is not good enough.

"I understand that you cannot keep on top of everything all the time but after four years it should have changed. It is not transparent."

The council said proactive checks are mentioned in the strategy but nothing has changed with the sites.

The local authority pointed out that it deals with sites through its planning process and tackles problems if they are concerned areas are harmful.

Its approach is in line with other councils, according to cabinet member for neighbourhoods, Cllr Amanda Chadderton.

She said: “Sites usually become contaminated due to their use in the past.

“The contamination won’t affect anyone unless the land is going to be developed in some way.

“Any planning application involving development of a contaminated site would need to be accompanied by a report outlining how they were going to make sure the site was safe before development.

"This would be checked prior to, and during, development to ensure the measures are suitable and have been implemented.

“Like councils across the country we do not carry out proactive inspections."