Air pollution may have contributed to the deaths of about 3,000 Londoners in 2005, a London Assembly report has warned.

The city's air quality is well below EU targets and is having a “severe impact” on the NHS, the London Assembly's Environment Committee said, urging mayor Boris Johnson to take “bold action” on the issue.

Research found children and the elderly were worst affected and that emissions from diesel vehicles remained the main source of pollution - contributing to a range of health problems, from coughing and sneezing to more serious illnesses.

It said the mayor should look at running the city's public transport system on biofuels to and displaying "real time pollution levels” to give Londoners information about air pollution levels in their area.

Darren Johnson, the committee's chairman, said: “Reducing air pollution is not just about improving the environment in some abstract way. Our report shows that it's about saving lives.”

In response Wandsworth Council said small actions by residents would help pollution levels locally.

It urged parents to switch off their car engines when collecting children from school and said it had also launched a competition for primary school children to design a new poster to help raise awareness about air pollution.

Gareth Llywelyn-Roberts, Wandsworth Council’s head of environmental services and community safety, said: “Many people will not realise that idling vehicles are pumping out large quantities of CO2 and harmful fine particles. When parents park around our schools with the engine ticking over they can create high concentrations of pollutants which are completely unnecessary.

“This campaign is about raising awareness of the simple, every day measures we can all take to improve air quality in Wandsworth.”

The council has also produced a new leaflet providing tips on how to reduce vehicle emissions.

Removing unnecessary weight from the car, switching off the air conditioning and pumping tires up to the correct pressure all help, it said.

The council’s Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) also sets out how it aims to reduce air pollution to meet air quality targets.

Actions include free vehicle emission testing, providing electric vehicle charging points and training dry cleaners to control their pollutants.

Find out more about the AQAP at

• Find out about more local green groups at