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Call to cut emissions on busy road near Midland Met hospital

By Richard Guttridge | Sandwell | Health | Published:

Emissions must be cut on a busy road near where a new hospital is being built, a health chief has said.

The Midland Metropolitan Hospital is being built in Smethwick

Toby Lewis, chief executive of the trust which will run the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Smethwick, has called on council and health officials to come up with a plan to tackle air pollution on nearby Dudley Road and surrounding streets.

The Midland Met is on the Black Country and Birmingham border, close to some of the most busy and congested roads in the region, and concerns have been raised about building a state-of-the-art healthcare facility next to roads where so many vehicles are pumping out fumes.

Birmingham City Council is among authorities leading the way on plans to cut emissions, including the introduction of a clean air zone which is due to come into force in January.

It was also revealed this week electric cars could be fitted with green number plates to allow drivers to benefit from perks such as using bus lanes and cheaper parking.

Toby Lewis, right, at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital

Mr Lewis, who has been part of Air Quality Forums exploring the subject, said he is keen try and address the problem before the Midland Met opens in 2022.

He said on Twitter: "Commitment for next Air Quality Forum is to focus on local streets near Midland Met: Time to address pollution on Dudley Road and re-make the economic activity near our future hospital.

The Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust chief executive also backed comments from NHS England boss Simon Stevens who said the "climate emergency is in fact a health emergency".

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Mr Lewis said: "Absolutely right, as we meet in West Birmingham and Sandwell Air Quality Forum respiratory diseases drive four in 10 emergency admissions."

Work on the Midland Met is expected to resume in December after approval to grant the contract to Balfour Beatty was finally signed off by the Government earlier this month.

The project ground to a halt following the collapse of Carillion nearly two years ago.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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