AIR pollution could cause hundreds more deaths in Wales over the next 10 years unless clean air legislation is brought in, a leading health charity has warned.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has called on the UK government to take "bold action" and pass new laws to limit the amount of particulate matter air pollution across the country.

“We need to ensure that stricter, health-based air quality guidelines are adopted into law to protect the health of the nation as a matter of urgency," BHF boss Adam Fletcher said."Clean Air legislation in the 1950s and 60s, and more recently the smoking ban in public places, show that government actions can improve the air we breathe."

Today (Monday) the charity launches a new campaign, You're Full Of It, to draw attention to the levels of particulate matter being breathed in every day by people across the UK.

Particulate matter (pm) is the collective term for extremely small solid and liquid materials present in the air.

BHF analysis found there were currently an estimated 670 deaths in Wales each year which could be attributed to particulate air pollution.

But this could rise to around 900 deaths annually, the charity claimed, unless new measures to curb air pollution are introduced.

"Air pollution is a serious public health issue which affects us all, and evidence of the negative impact toxic air has on our health is increasing all the time," BHF researcher Dr Mark Miller said. "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."

The BHF is urging the new UK government to adopt World Health Organisation guidelines into the reintroduced UK Government Environment Bill, with a requirement that these limits are met by 2030. The charity is urging people to write to their MPs, asking them to support the inclusion of WHO air pollution guideline limits in the bill.