HUNDREDS of deaths in Herefordshire over the next 10 years could be put down to toxic air, a leading charity has warned.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said heart and circulatory disease deaths attributed to particulate air pollution could be as many as 610 over the next decade in the county, unless the Government takes action.

The charity says air pollution presents a "major public health emergency" which must be urgently addressed by the new Government.

It's estimated up to 11,000 heart and circulatory disease deaths are attributable to particulate air pollution in the UK every year, and analysis of figures from the Office of National Statistics suggests an upward trend.

Dr Mark Miller, a researcher specialising in air pollution, said: "Air pollution is a serious public health issue which affects us all.

"Evidence of the negative impact toxic air has on our health is increasing all the time.

"Our research has found that air pollution damages our blood vessels, increasing our risk of blood clots, and in turn heart attacks and stroke.

"While there is no safe level of air pollution exposure, adopting stricter guidelines will do a great deal to protect our health, allowing people to live healthier lives for longer."