Air pollution levels in Lewisham, Deptford and New Cross are six times higher than the recommended limit, latest research revealed.

Professors from Goldsmiths University said the levels were highest next to new development sites and areas where drivers leave their cars running.

Researchers equipped locals with their new Dustbox device that measures PM2.5 matter in the atmosphere.

PM2.5 refers to tiny particles in the air that are able to travel deep into the respiratory tract and can affect your lungs and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.

The World Health Organisation recommends an average concentration of 25 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre of air, a level regularly exceeded across Deptford, New Cross and Lewisham.

Researchers found that the levels were regularly above 150 micrograms, or six times higher than the recommended limit.

Goldsmiths University professors found that the levels were highest at traffic intersections, around construction sites for new developments, and at locations where drivers leave engines idling.

Goldsmiths Professor of Sociology and project lead Jennifer Gabrys said: “There were a number of striking findings from this research, not least the spikes in pollution on certain days and around certain areas.

“The results suggest that rapid urban regeneration, ever growing volumes of vehicles, and traffic idling are becoming increasingly harmful to London’s atmosphere and its population.

“We were also drawn to findings that suggested pollution could be coming from River Thames traffic, which raises questions about how we manage that as a city.

“All citizens who took part in this research did so because they are concerned about the rising levels of pollution in their city, and want to use evidence to support projects to improve the urban realm.

“One of our other surprising findings is that green spaces, if well planted, can make a significant contribution to improving local air quality. We hope that the main takeaway from this research will be that urban design can play a big role in preventing and mitigating air pollution.

“Our hope is that the monitoring toolkit and data stories will provide a method and guide for others to contribute to the wider development of citizen-led environmental monitoring to support and build more liveable cities.”