LONDON’s air pollution is having a serious effect on people’s health, it has been claimed.

The London Assembly was told yesterday (February 4) by Dr Frank Kelly of Kings College London that poor air quality is affecting everyone, especially children and the elderly.

Air pollution is believed to be responsible for around 1,000 premature deaths each year, the assembly’s environment committee was told.

And Dr Kelly said the pollution is also causing a reduction in some children’s lung growth by up to 17 per cent by the time they hit their teens.

He told the meeting that fumes were penetrating deep into people’s lungs, leading to inflammation similar to that caused by respiratory disease.

The capital has the worst air pollution in the UK and is among the worst in Europe.

Committee chairman Darren Johnson said: "Reducing air pollution is not just about improving the environment in some abstract way.

“Today’s shocking figures show that it’s about saving lives. The mayor and the Government need to get serious about this.”