NEW research has discovered higher air pollution levels in Southampton has caused multiple cardiac arrests for children and adults.

The data, from King’s College London and UK100, found higher air pollution days in Southampton were responsible for two more out of hospital cardiac arrests, while 14 children or adults have been hospitalised for asthma or strokes.

The research examined nine cities which found there were 124 additional out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and 424 hospital admissions for stroke and asthma on days when air pollution was higher.

The cities that were part of the study included Southampton, London, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford.

Now the data has triggered a warning from the head of the NHS in England, warning “the climate emergency is in fact also a health emergency”, as high air pollution is estimated to contribute to up to 36,000 deaths every year.

Chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, said: “As these new figures show, air pollution is now causing thousands of strokes, cardiac arrests and asthma attacks, so it’s clear that the climate emergency is in fact also a health emergency.

“Since these avoidable deaths are happening now - not in 2025 or 2050 - together we need to act now.

"For the NHS that is going to mean further comprehensive action building on the reduction of our carbon footprint of one fifth in the past decade."

He added: "So our NHS energy use, supply chain, building adaptations and our transport will all need to change substantially.”

Director of UK100, Polly Billington, said: “Air pollution is a problem in towns and cities across the country, with children and adults being hospitalised for life threatening conditions.

"That is an individual tragedy for each of them, and collectively a huge burden on our NHS.

"Local government needs additional powers and resources to address this public health crisis, alongside a timetable for when air pollution levels will meet WHO guidelines.”

Health expert on the project at Environmental Research Group, Dr Heather Walton, added the effect air pollution has on people's health has been "crucial in justifying air pollution reduction policies", particularly when examining the impact it has on "life-expectancy".

The research, which will be published in full in November and is being released ahead of the International Clean Air Summit, hosted by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and UK100.

The summit will take place on October 23.