WARRINGTON Borough Council could be forced to use its resources to tackle the town's 'historical contaminated land problem' following confirmation of major funding cuts.

The executive board approved the authority's revised contaminated land inspection strategy at the Town Hall on Monday, March 13.

Members also discussed the 'lack of external funding' for the public protection service.

Reported 'gas activity' at Westy Park was highlighted by Cllr Hans Mundry, executive board member for highways, transportation and public realm.

However, in a report to members, Cllr Judith Guthrie, portfolio holder for environment and public protection, confirmed the public protection service is 'currently unaware' of any sites requiring urgent investigation.

She said: "In the past, funding for detailed inspection and remediation has been available to local authorities via the Contaminated Land Capital Projects Programme (CLCPP) provided by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

"This funding peaked at £17.5 million in 2009-10 and reduced to £2 million in 2013-14.

"In December 2013, it was announced that funding would be further reduced to £0.5 million in 2014 and then phased out from April 2017.

"The council has previously utilised this funding to carry out detailed inspection involving intrusive site investigation, with or without remediation.

"This included the investigation of over 600 properties and three former landfill sites, as well as the remediation of 34 residential properties, following successful bids.

"CLCPP funding will no longer be available from April.

"A programme for the delivery of strategic inspection will be achieved within existing resources.

"Detailed inspection involving intrusive investigation may be required to determine actual harm or unacceptable risk."

Council leader Cllr Terry O'Neill said the council has a 'duty of care' to deal with any matters that arise.

He added: "We need to clean up contaminated land or people could be affected.

"I think it is easy for most people to see we have a good economy and are creating lots of jobs but it is easy to forget we have this historical contaminated land problem.

"It will come at a cost – but we will continue to deal with this."

The executive board also noted that the inspection of urgent cases, if and when they are identified, may require council funding, or require being placed on the risk register, if funding is not made available.