Air pollution on the borough’s roads is going to be worse than previously thought unless action is taken, the authorities have acknowledged.
A new report by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)shows more than a dozen stretches of road in Wigan will have concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) either over the legal limit or in danger of exceeding it by 2021.
Those which will have illegal levels of pollution include Darlington Street, Central Park Way, near the Tesco superstore, and King Street West in Wigan town centre.
The A573 Warrington Road in the middle of Platt Bridge is also predicted to have concentrations of nitrogen dioxide above the statutory EU limit.
Roads across the borough, including more than half a dozen in the town centre, Manchester Road in Ince, Poolstock Lane, part of Atherton Road in
Hindley Green and two stretches of the A577 on the way to the M6 and Orrell will all be in danger of exceeding the limits.
The entire report showing 152 roads in Greater Manchester will be in breach of limits, far more than previously thought, is a wake-up call for the authorities trying to come up with a regional strategy.
Wigan Council leader Coun David Molyneux said: “Detailed local modelling has shown more stretches of road in Wigan borough than previously thought will be in breach of legal limits for harmful nitrogen dioxide beyond 2020 if we fail to take action, harming our health and the local economy.
“Work is still under way to develop the Clean Air Plan and no decision has been taken yet on the final package of measures to clean up Greater Manchester’s air.
“We’ll continue to work with our partners to develop the best options and there will be an opportunity for the public to have their say before any final decisions are taken.”
Wigan Council’s public health director Professor Kate Ardern asked for public help to reduce pollution.
She said: “As a council we are doing what we can to try and reduce the impact on this through investment in cycling and walking infrastructure but we need your help to tackle the problem. All of us make small changes to help clean up our air.
“Driving less and walking or cycling more and making use of our fantastic green spaces in the borough can help reduce your exposure to air pollution and also cut emissions.”
“It’s time for us all to do our bit and try to cut the amount of dangerous gases our vehicles are pumping out into the atmosphere.”
Poor air quality is the UK’s biggest environmental health issue, with pollution increasing risks of heart disease and lung cancer.
Around 80 per cent of NO2 pollution comes from transport, mainly diesel vehicles.