The death rate as a result of air pollution has got worse in almost half of London boroughs, Department of Health figures have shown.
The West London borough of Hillingdon topped the national ‘league of shame’ for the biggest increase in deaths, up to 6.86 per cent.
The City of London remained the worst local authority area in the country with 8.94 per cent of total deaths attributable to dangerous airborne gases, although it actually registered a small improvement.
It was followed by the central London boroughs of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea.
According to the figures, which are for 2011, death rates worsened in 15 of 33 boroughs across the capital, making air quality in London the worst in the UK and among the worst in Europe.
More than 4,000 Londoners are thought to die prematurely each year because of long-term exposure to airborne pollution.
Those living in inner-city areas breathe in the most polluted air, with high levels of fine particulate matter of a concentration level known as PM2.5.
Overall the UK showed a very slight improvement, meaning that pressure will grow on Mayor Boris Johnson to do more to tackle air pollution in London.
Green peer Baroness Jenny Jones said: “It is extremely disappointing that so many Londoners are being exposed to even higher levels of pollution from vehicles.
“The Mayor tells us he is acting to reduce pollution, but whatever he is doing, it’s clearly not enough. He must act now to bring effective measures to protect Londoners from excessive, dangerous and illegal levels of vehicular pollution”.
But a spokesman for Mr Johnson said: “Since the Mayor took office emissions of oxides of nitrogen are down by an estimated 20 per cent.
“That is because of an ambitious package of measures including building Europe’s largest fleet of low emission hybrid buses, retiring the oldest taxis and introducing tighter emission standards for lorries and vans. Clearly there is still more to do.”
Airborne pollution in the form of fine particulate matter emanates mostly from combustion sources, including transport, domestic and industrial sources, and aggravates respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.
Research shows these particles are likely to be inhaled deep into the respiratory tract and have a disproportionate impact on children due to their smaller lung capacity.