Stanford-le-Hope has been named and shamed by the World Health Organisation for breaching safe levels for air pollution of "tiny particulate matter".

The latest report from the WHO shows the town is among ten cities in the UK where the air contains a more-than-safe level of dangerous tiny particulate matter.

The other nine UK cities breaching air quality standards for PM10 particulate air pollution are: Port Talbot, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Scunthorpe, Eastbourne, Nottingham, Oxford and Southampton.

The Gazette recently reported that levels of pollution coming from the dangerous gas nitrogen dioxide had shot above the legal limit in Thurrock.

In 2014, it was also reported that Thurrock came out as the fourth worst area outside of London for the number of PM2.5s in the air, which come from diesel fumes.

Air pollution from particulates can cause lung cancer, heart and lung disease and research has revealed there is no safe limit of exposure.

This type of air pollution leads to 29,000 early deaths across the country each year.

The WHO “safe” guideline limit is an annual average of 20 ug/m3 for PM10 and 10 ug/m3 for PM2.5. although the report also claims there is no “safe” level of exposure.

The latest figures from Thurrock Council show the level of PM2.5 in Stanford-le-Hope in 2013 was 14.24 ug/m3, a figure which has now dropped to 10.06 ug/m3 in 2015.

The level of PM10 in Stanford-le-Hope in 2013 was 28.29 ug/m3, a figure which has now dropped to 22.95 ug/m3 in 2015.

Friends of the Earth is calling for Clean Air Zones to be introduced across all UK cities and large towns, including Stanford-le-Hope, so air pollution can be reduced to meet WHO standards.

Jenny Bates, Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, said: “The figures for Europe might look like they’re improving slightly but we’re still talking about dangerous levels of pollution. There is no safe level of exposure.

“This is a public health crisis. It’s time it was treated that way. Stanford-le-Hope needs fewer and cleaner vehicles, and to help achieve this it needs a Clean Air Zone.

A spokesman for thurrock council said: “Thurrock Council is, of course, aware of the air quality issues in Thurrock and monitors them regularly.

“Since 2013, the date of the WHO report’s figures - the Stanford-le-Hope station has registered significantly reduced pollution levels and continues to be below the legal limit and has been at or below the WHO guideline level.”