MAJOR work to widen a road to improve congestion and bus times has been approved - despite a councillor’s concerns over air quality.

A 400-metre section of Wakefield Road will be widened by seven-and-a-half metres to provide four lanes rather than the existing three.

Barnsley Council’s planning board approved the scheme on Tuesday but Coun Philip Lofts told the meeting he would have ‘liked to have seen a better scheme’, adding that it ‘ought to have air quality monitoring’.

Paul Castle, service director for environment and transport, said the scheme will improve journey times, and planning officer Matthew Smith added that the A61 is ‘not in an air quality designation management area’.

Mr Smith added that the scheme will not have a significant impact on air quality.

Joe Jenkinson, head of planning, told the meeting that 27 of the council’s 64 air monitoring devices are within two kilometres of Wakefield Road, and have been taking readings for four years.

Mr Jenkinson added: “The widening of the road will improve journey times and the reliability of buses.

“If we don’t support the plans, those problems are going to persist we’ve got to do something about this part of the network and this has been deemed to be the most suitable proposal.”