'Up to 9% of deaths in London caused by air pollution'

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Up to 9% of deaths in the capital's most polluted areas are down to air pollution, a new London Assembly paper has reported.

The paper highlights the percentage of deaths attributable to man-made airborne particles is highest in the City of London.

Research has shown air pollution contributes to problems including lung and heart conditions.

The Mayor's office said the report was overly simplistic and alarmist.

London is among the worst in Europe for air pollution.

'Interesting reading'

The paper, Air Pollution in London, produced by the Assembly's Health and Environment Committee, reports 8.3% of deaths in Westminster are attributable to man-made airborne particles.

In Kensington and Chelsea it is 8.3% and in Tower Hamlets 8.1%.

Bromley and Havering have the lowest proportion of pollution-related deaths in London, both 6.3%, but are still above the England average of 5.6%.

The Department of Health figures relate to research in 2010 and are based on estimates.

A 2008 study estimated there are over 4,267 extra deaths each year in London from particulates in the air.

Breast cancer and diabetes have been attributed to air pollution as well as respiratory problems.

Labour Assembly Member Murad Qureshi, chairman of the Health and Environment Committee, said the borough-level figures should make "interesting reading" for the Mayor of London.

He added: "Hopefully they will give the problem of air pollution the emphasis it warrants."

A Department of Health spokesman said air pollution was said to be among the top 10 causes of mortality in the UK.

'Illegal levels'

City Hall says it has taken measures to cut pollution from buses and taxis and improve the Low Emission Zone.

A spokesman for the mayor said: "Air quality is undoubtedly a serious health issue, but this report presents complex statistical data in an overly simplistic and alarmist manner."

The Mayor's Air Quality Strategy aims to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter by:

-reducing transport emissions

-cutting pollution from construction and energy generation

-taking pollutants from road surface treatment and

-reducing exposure by warning people of high pollution days

Environmental Organisation ClientEarth recently warned that in terms of European Union rules, London will have "illegal levels of air pollution until 2025".

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