Air pollution has resulted in nearly seven per cent of deaths in Lewisham according to new government statistics.

Both Lewisham and Greenwich are among the heaviest polluted south-east London boroughs with 6.5 per cent of all deaths being a result of air pollution.

The report, published by the Department for Health, puts both boroughs just under Southwark which has an air pollution death toll of 7.1 per cent.

Simon Birkett, founder and director of Clean Air in London, said urgent action is needed.

He said: “Most importantly, we need to ban carcinogenic diesel exhaust from the most-polluted places as coal was banned so successfully 60 years ago after the Great Smog. An ultra-low emission zone will be essential around any new river crossings in east London to ensure air pollution is reduced not worsened.”

Bromley is one of the least air-polluted south-east boroughs at 5.6 per cent, followed by Bexley at six per cent.

The top five male and female death categories as detailed in a report by the Office for National Statistics are heart disease, lung cancer, respiratory disease, cerebrovascular disease and dementia and Alzheimer’s – four of which are caused by air pollution.

Teacher Anne Bird, who commutes to Lewisham, said the poor management of junctions means there are more idle engines.

She said: “If I were Lewisham Council I would aim to get traffic on arterial roads through as quickly as possible.”