Local authority bosses have been accused of removing of part of the Bog Height Tip from its protected wildlife status to make it easier to drive a controversial road through the site.

The allegation was made by Blackburn with Darwen Council's Conservative Group leader Councillor John Slater at the borough's executive board meeting on Thursday night.

The senior councillors were considering rejigging its map of 37 District Wildlife Sites.

The majority lie on the town fringes of Blackburn and Darwen and are areas of land which have been identified as being of local importance in providing habitat for wildlife.

Now a study by Bowland Ecology to update the authority's DWS map has recommended changes.

The include altering the boundaries of the Bog Height Tip site in Cllr Slater's Blackburn South and Lower Darwen ward.

He told borough growth boss Cllr Quesir Mahmood the authority had altered the boundaries of the site to make it easier to build a controversial new road from the Oakdale Estate to Bog Height Road, to serve a 450-home housing development off Brokenstone Road by Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Homes.

Cllr Slater said he and many residents have strongly opposed the proposed road.

Cllr Slater said: "You have gerrymandered the boundaries of the Bog Height Tip district wildlife site so you can drive this road through."

Cllr Mahmood denied the accusation, and said the morning after the meeting: "Amendments to the Bog Height Tip District Wildlife Site, agreed at last night’s meeting, are in no way related to the creation of a new road.

"The potential route of the new road does not affect this wildlife site.

"The boundary change was put forward as part of several recommendations which were highlighted through the District Wildlife Site Study, completed by external consultants.

"The study was carried out to better understand the habitat importance of sites in the borough, and to help inform the development of a Local Nature Recovery Strategy."

Despite this, Cllr Slater was adamant on his belief, adding: "They did this to make it easier to build this road nobody wants.

"If they had not moved the boundary of Bog Height Tip they would have had major problems building the road through a district wildlife site."