Health warning over air pollution

The air pollution above the Horns Bridge roundabout in Chesterfield.
The air pollution above the Horns Bridge roundabout in Chesterfield.

Record levels of air pollution will continue to plague the UK today, experts have warned.

Dust from the Sahara, alongside emissions from the Continent and domestic pollution has caused air quality to plummet – and the smog-like conditions are not expected to clear until tomorrow.

Across Derbyshire, fog has engulfed roads, slowing traffic and spellig havoc for commuters.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has reported parts of the UK have already reached pollution levels of nine out of 10, where ten is the highest.

Very high levels of pollution are also forecast this afternoon for the East Midlands.

Those with lung and heart conditions have been told to avoid strenuous activity outdoors while people suffering symptoms of pollution - including sore eyes, coughs and sore throats - should cut down the amount they do outside, health experts said.

Asthmatics have been warned of the need to use their blue reliever inhalers more often as they could be prone to attacks over the next few days.

Around two-thirds of the 3.6 million people with asthma find that air pollution makes their asthma worse.

The advice, from Public Health England (PHE), Asthma UK and Defra, comes after a warning that parts of England are experiencing the highest level of air pollution ever recorded by Defra.

Sotiris Vardoulakis, head of air pollution at PHE’s centre for radiation, chemical and environmental hazards, said most people will not be affected by short-term peaks in air pollution, but some groups, such as those with existing heart or lung conditions, may experience increased symptoms.

“On occasions where levels are high, adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience symptoms,” he said.

“Anyone experiencing discomfort such as sore eyes, cough or sore throat should consider reducing activity, particularly outdoors.”