Top doctor warns of link road health timebomb

Dr Imran Aziz
Dr Imran Aziz

WIGAN’S top asthma doctor is warning the health of schoolchildren could be harmed by exhaust fumes from a planned link road.

Dr Imran Aziz, who is a consultant chest physician with the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust, has expressed concerns about the £5m Almond Brook link road in Standish proposed by Wigan Council, saying it could increase the risk of young people developing asthma.

The controversial road scheme, which is being opposed by residents’ group Stop Almond Brook Link Road (SABLR), runs between Almond Brook Road and Preston Road and passes close to the playing fields of Standish High School.

Wigan Council claims the road will ease congestion in Standish after the building of 1,000 new homes but SABLR says they have wrongly conducted a traffic survey and the council has no evidence for the need of the road.

Dr Aziz’s letter to Wigan Council is the latest blow to the scheme after Wigan MP Lisa Nandy called for a public meeting in Standish to discuss the proposal with those who will be most affected, saying she was concerned about the lack of consultation.

Clinical director Dr Aziz, who leads WWL’s asthma services at Wigan Infirmary and also lectures at Manchester Medical School, said: “The incidence of asthma is increasing in this country and a lot of it is due to increasing allergies and pollution, and I feel that building a link road next to a school, where lorries and other traffic will be passing, will not only increase the noise pollution, but more importantly from my perspective, increase the risk of asthma and other respiratory illnesses developing in these children.

“It is my opinion as a clinician that this has the potential to harm the lung function of children.”