A doctor has described higher instances of asthma and lung disease in patients from Deptford and New Cross – which she blames on air quality.

Both of these air pollution hotspots are now being targeted by a new low-emission bus zone along New Cross Road.

London Mayor Saqid Khan launched the initiative after meeting with Deptford Surgery GP, Dr Rachel Hadden and local students.

The Mayor described air pollution as a “health crisis.”

Dr Hadden welcomed the new zone, and said there were noticeably higher instances of lung disease and asthma in patients in Deptford as a result of air pollution.

“The most noticeable, just because it points out the quality of the air in this locality, is new patients who move into the area who have been living in other parts of the country – probably not even in London – who move in and experience a re-emergence of asthma systems they might have not had at all for 10 years or more,” she said

“In some cases people experience asthma that they didn’t have before.”

Lewisham’s air pollution has drawn national interest, after local mother Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debra called for a second inquest into the death of her daughter Ella, who died aged nine in 2013 after an acute respiratory failure.

New research into Ella’s death shows her frequent hospital admissions coincided with spikes in illegal levels of air pollution around her home, near the busy South Circular Road.

Dr Hadden said air pollution was worse for developing lungs.

“Children that live in highly polluted areas – which London is one – will grow up with smaller lungs, and is there is some thought that it may affect their development in other ways that is not yet fully understood.

“Those children may or may not develop asthma but they may suffer smaller lungs as a result of the pollution,” she said.

Smaller lungs lead to a a higher likelihood of developing lung diseases, she said.

But it was not only young lungs at risk from air pollution.

“Even though we maybe don’t see it on a day-to-day basis, it is important to point out there is a lot of evidence that pollution impacts in other ways – it can contribute to heart disease, stroke, dementia. Basically, it’s going to kill people,” she said.

She said she sometimes answered questions from patients about whether they needed to leave the area as a result of health issues from air pollution, and was pleased the London Mayor was working to improve air quality in the area.

Addey and Stanhope School pupil Joas Dibi, 14, who met Mr Khan, said he could often smell air pollution and was pleased there would be new low-emission buses now around where he lived and went to school.

“When you go to a different area you can smell the difference,” he explained.

He had a scary asthma attack after recently running in an 800m race during a school sports day, he said.

Fellow pupil Moto Sokoli, 12, said he had lived in the area his whole life and had always had asthma, but looked forward to the new buses.

He said traffic idling at traffic lights was a contributor to air pollution in the area.

Experts at Goldsmiths, University of London found levels of pollution in New Cross and Deptford were up to six times higher than World Health Organisation guidelines in 2017.