igan Council has declared a climate emergency in the borough and has committed to taking urgent environmental action.

The declaration was made at a full council meeting on Wednesday by Coun Carl Sweeney, cabinet member for planning and environment.

The announcement comes just days after Green campaigners highlighted the “slow pace” at which the borough is becoming environmentally friendly.

However despite the challenges, the council is saying it aspires to be carbon-neutral by 2038 or sooner.

Council bosses believe this can be achieved by promoting a move to a circular economy, recycling 65 per cent of municipal waste by 2035 and targeting a reduction in the amount of waste produced overall.

Improving air quality will also be a priority with a commitment to meet guidelines on air quality by 2030 while supporting the UK Government in meeting and maintaining all thresholds for key air pollutants at the earliest date.

Government figures showed the scale of the challenge ahead as between 2016 and 2017 carbon emissions in the borough went down by just two per cent.

That means that at current rates Wigan will not become zero carbon until the 2160s, rather than within the next couple of decades as scientists and environmentalists want to see.

Wigan’s rate of curbing emissions at the moment is also the second slowest out of the 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester.

To tackle the major risk that air pollution poses, the local councils in Greater Manchester are developing a Clean Air Plan.

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