Nearly 18 million patients are registered at GP surgeries with unsafe levels of pollution new research has found.

There are 314,218 and 302,598 patients from Waltham Forest and Redbridge respectively that are registered with a GP practice affected by toxic fumes.

According to the new research from clean energy organisation UK100 published on Monday, 7.5 million NHS patients in London are registered with practices that exceed the World Health Organisation annual limit for air pollution.

The research was published ahead of the Clean Air Summit held today in at the Tate Modern in Southwark.

The summit is being attended by the Mayor for London Sadiq Khan, Environment Secretary Michael Gove MP, Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP, NHS chief exectuive Simon Stevens and other mayors and council leaders across the UK.

Mr Khan said: "Our toxic air is a national health crisis, contributing to tens of thousands of premature deaths across the UK every year.

"Air pollution harms the lung growth and respiratory health of our children, and is also linked to asthma, cancer and dementia. I’m proud that London has taken positive action by cleaning up our bus and taxi fleet, encouraging clean air innovation, establishing the largest air quality monitoring network of any major city and, starting in April this year, introducing the world’s first 24/7 Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London.

"UK100’s findings are a timely reminder of how many people are exposed to poor air when they are at their most vulnerable. Government must recognise that cities can’t win this battle alone and we now need to be given greater powers and funding to clean up our filthy air and protect future generations."

UK100 is a the only network for UK local authorities focused climate and clean energy policy and they connect local leaders to each other, to business and to national government, enabling them to showcase their achievements, learn from each other and speak collectively to accelerate the transition to clean energy.

Director of UK100 Polly Billington said: "These figures show that air pollution is a national problem. Some of the most vulnerable groups of people including young children and older people will walk to their GP, often to get help with respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis. This shows the real danger to their health of the air pollution in their communities. We need urgent action from the government, with a new Clean Air Act passed by parliament to tackle toxic fumes."

The head of NHS England is calling for tougher action on air pollution.

Current levels of air pollution cause up to 20,200 respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions every year, which means air pollution is a grave threat to the nation’s health.

Previous scientific studies have put the cost to health as a result of car and van exhausts at £6 billion.

NHS chief executive Mr Stevens is encouraging NHS bodies across the country to adopt a similar cross-sector partnership to a successful scheme in east London that has seen Barts Health NHS trust working with local partners to tackle the effects of air pollution.

He said: "Air pollution causes thousands of hospital admissions and early deaths every year, but while doctors, nurses and therapists are treating the health consequences, the NHS is also taking action to tackle the problem at source. The NHS’ Long Term Plan sets out how better use of technology can help make up to 30 million outpatient appointments – and the millions of patient journeys to hospital they involve – unnecessary.

"The NHS has already cut its carbon footprint by 11% between 2007 and 2015 and now we are working to cut emissions from the NHS fleet by 20% by 2024, with at least 90% of vehicles using ultra-low emission engines.

"Bold action like this has been estimated to help avoid over 50,000 cases of coronary heart disease and almost 10,000 cases of asthma by 2035. The UK100 summit this week is an important opportunity to come together and focus on the next steps we can all take to ensure a happier, healthier future for everyone."

The Royal College of Physicians report that exposure to particulate matter PM2.5 has been linked to including asthma, heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer, with emerging evidence showing impacts on low birth weight, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The British Lung Foundation have also found that PM2.5 particulate matter are small enough to pass through the lungs and enter the bloodstream.

Dr Penny Woods chief executive of the British Lung Foundation said: “It’s just not acceptable that nearly 18 million people are breathing unsafe levels of air pollution when seeking medical care from their GP. We know that our society’s most vulnerable people – especially children, the elderly and those with heart and lung problems – are most at risk from air pollution. More must be done to keep them and health care staff safe; the World Health Organisation’s limit on particulate matter pollution should be included in the upcoming Environment Bill to ensure we meet it.”