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High air pollution risk across South East

Defra forecasts moderate and high levels of air pollution across south and east England ‘due to Saharan dust’

Moderate and high levels of air pollution have been forecast across parts of southern and eastern England on Thursday (December 17) due to dust expected to blow over from the Saharan desert in Africa.

Defra map showing air pollution forecast for Thursday (December 17) with 'high' levels shown in red

Defra map showing air pollution forecast for Thursday (December 17) with ‘high’ levels shown in red

According to Defra’s latest pollution outlook this morning (December 15), there is a risk of moderate of high levels of air pollution due to Saharan dust this week, although “large uncertainties remain with the timing and amount of dust”.

During bouts of high air pollution, Defra advises that adults, children and older people with asthma and heart problems should reduce their physical activities outside.

Air pollution levels are then expected to fall back to low by Friday (December 18), but there is a risk of moderate levels affecting parts of England and Wales during Saturday.

However, the dust is not expected to impact on Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales this week, where low air pollution levels are expected.

It is not the first time in recent years that the UK has been affected by dust blowing over from the Sahara desert. April 2014 saw top-of-the-scale levels of air pollution hit parts of Norfolk, while high levels spread across much of southern England and Wales due to dust from the Sahara (see AirQualityNews.com story).

Defra also forecast high air pollution in April this year “due to locally generated particulate matter combining with pollution blown in from the near continent – and a contribution from Saharan dust” Sahara (see AirQualityNews.com story).

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