AIR pollution in Keighley and across the Bradford district means people have an increased risk of death equivalent to smoking up to 95 cigarettes a year.

That’s the stark warning from charity the British Heart Foundation, which has carried out analysis of new data.

It looked at air pollution levels in all areas of Yorkshire and Humberside.

Kingston upon Hull had the highest average daily levels compared to other local authorities, equating to smoking 109 cigs a year, with Leeds a close second at 101.

Bradford was fifth.

The British Heart Foundation says air pollution has a “profound” effect on the heart and circulatory system.

And it is urging the next UK Government to adopt into law tougher World Health Organisation (WHO) air pollution limits.

Jacob West, for the charity, said: “The UK currently subscribes to EU limits on levels of fine particulate matter called PM2.5, which are not as stringent as those set by the WHO.

“This fine particulate matter is the most dangerous kind of air pollution, finding its way into the circulatory system when inhaled.

“Our research has shown that PM2.5 can have a seriously detrimental effect to heart health, making existing conditions worse and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

“Every year around 1,100 coronary heart disease and stroke deaths in Yorkshire and Humberside are attributed to particulate matter air pollution.”

He described air pollution as “a major public health emergency” and said that over the years it had not been treated seriously enough.

Mr West added: “Unless we take radical measures now, we will look back in the future on this period of inaction with shame.

“Legislation was passed over a decade ago to protect people from passive smoke, and similarly decisive action must be taken to protect people from air pollution. "The last government accepted that it is possible to implement tougher WHO air pollution limits.”

Bradford Council told the Keighley News that it recognised the need to reduce air pollution levels in the district.

A spokesman added: “We are looking at all our options in terms of the actions needed to improve air quality as quickly as possible. People can make a difference by limiting use of cars, cycling or walking wherever possible and considering using public transport to reduce the amount of traffic on our roads.”