The British Lung Foundation has warned that hospital accident and emergency departments could be put under strain by a surge in admissions linked to respiratory diseases during winter months.

The charity, which has led a sustained campaign calling for measures to improve air quality in the UK, has published a report called ‘Out in the cold’ in which it calls for greater support for preventative measures to help people suffering from existing lung conditions during winter months.

According to the report, the greatest number of hospital admissions due to respiratory diseases come during the winter months, which see as many as 80% more admissions than in the warmer spring months of March, April and May.

Respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer have all been linked to air pollution, due to the strain that exposure to dirty air puts on the lungs.