More than 800 children under the age of five were admitted to Homerton Hospital with breathing problems last year.

Campaign group Mums for Lungs says Freedom of Information data it has uncovered shows that more needs to be done to protect children from air pollution in London.

The group's founder Jemima Hartshorn has called on all diesel vehicles to be phased out by 2030 at the latest.

Figures obtained by Mums for Lungs from 22 London hospital suggest that more than 15,000 children were admitted with serious breathing problems in 2023.

Parents have now taken to the streets of areas affected by high air pollution to hang up baby grows that spell out ‘Clean Air Now’.

One Hackney mum, Lisa Huxley-Blythe, said she worries “a lot” about how the air quality in the borough is affecting her children.

Data shows that 809 children under the age of five were taken to Homerton Hospital with breathing problems last year.

Lisa explained: “They are growing up next to wood burning, major roads and the redevelopment of highly contaminated land.

“Little lungs are most affected by air pollution, so we want clean air zones around schools and air filters in classrooms (like they have in the House of Commons), so all the kids in Hackney can learn and play in clean air.”

Mums for Lungs said that particulate matter can result in serious impacts to health, especially in vulnerable groups of people such as the young and elderly. 

Short-term exposure to concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - a gas mainly caused by burning fossil fuels - can cause inflammation of the airways and increase the chance of respiratory infections.

NO2 can also exacerbate the symptoms of those already suffering from lung or heart conditions.

Dr Anna Moore, a respiratory doctor who works in a London NHS Hospital, added: “All the evidence shows that there is a clear connection between high levels of air pollution and respiratory conditions.

“These figures also demonstrate that there are hundreds of children who are in hospital with conditions that could be prevented.

“At a time when NHS resources are stretched thin, we need to urgently clean up our air, including completely phasing out the most heavily polluting diesel cars, trucks and vans and focus on infrastructure which enables safe walking and cycling as this is vital for long term health.”