New figures show shocking rise in number of Londoners killed by polluted, toxic air

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New research finds that air pollution kills more than twice as many Londoners as previously stated.

Analysis from 2006 had found that breathing poor quality air in the capital claimed the equivalent of 4,300 lives a year.

Those figures are only based on the impact of breathing tiny particles (PM2.5) which increase the risk of heart attacks, respiratory problems and some forms of cancer.

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Today's research which was carried out by scientists at Kings College London looks at data from 2010 and also includes the health impact of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).

They have found whilst the number of attributable deaths from particles has fallen from 4,300 to 3,500, the number of premature deaths caused by NO2 stands at 5,900. That's a total of 9,400 deaths a year in London.

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Nationally the number of deaths caused is 80,000.

Nitrogen dioxide is a common emission from Diesel engines. It is proven to restrict lung growth and function in people under 25 and limit people's life expectancy.

Research also found that nearly half (48%) of air pollution in London is created abroad and blown into the city. In major air pollution episodes where we get dirty air blowing in from Europe rather than clean air from the Atlantic that number can rise to 80%.

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The research was commissioned by the Mayor's office as scientific grounding to back up the need for an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). That is planned to be rolled out in 2020.

It will see older diesel and some petrol vehicles charged a fee (like the congestion charge) for entering central London.