A DRAIN that has been leaking fat on to a footpath of a beauty spot is being investigated by environmental health bosses.

Several residents have complained after seeing the open drain overflowing with the thick, white substance from a public right of way at Healey Dell Nature Reserve adjacent to Oakenshaw Avenue in Whitworth.

Coun Alan Neal said: “A number of local residents rang me on Saturday to express their serious concerns, given that this area of land is well used by young families, children, walkers and the wider community has a whole.

“I have requested that this item is now treated with the greatest of urgency, before it becomes a major environ-mental incident, as the River Spodden flows past the site, and if the river became contaminated with the fat it could cause serious problems.”

A Rossendale Council spokesman said: “This matter has now been brought to our attention for the first time.

“We will be looking in to the cause as a matter of urgency.

“It would appear that quantities of fat have been deposited in a drain, this of course is unacceptable, even in to the mains sewer.

“We will look to identify the cause and take action, if appropriate, to prevent a recurrence.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Following reports of an overflowing drain at Healey Dell, we are playing an advisory role to the operator and local authority to ensure there is no impact on the environment.”