A GOVERNMENT environmental watchdog has launched an investigation into the razing of parkland in Ramsbottom.

The two fields, off Nuttall Lane, were bulldozed by land owner Peel Holdings last month, to much consternation from local residents who claimed that they were given no prior warning.

Bury North MP James Frith has now confirmed that following complaints from members of the public and himself, Natural England are looking into the matter.

In their latest response to Mr Frith, they said: “Natural England believe the land and work undertaken falls within the scope of the Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) (England) Regulations 2006 (as amended), and are currently investigating the environmental significance of the works and assessing what, if any, enforcement action should be taken.”

The watchdog describes its role as 'helping to protect England's nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide'.

Mr Frith said: “Peel Holdings were reckless in carrying out this work with no consideration of the environmental impact and no consultation with the local residents who cherish these fields and the surrounding countryside.

“If any breach of the regulations is found, enforcement action should be taken to discourage this behaviour in future. Peel must understand that this will not do. Ramsbottom residents and I are fed up with their auto-response to our concerns about our environment.”