Air pollution advice to the public

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

January 23
13:20 2017

Widespread moderate and high air pollution levels are currently being measured across many parts of the UK due to still and foggy weather conditions, with some isolated pockets of very high pollution mainly across southeast England but also possibe for some urban areas of Northern Ireland, central and eastern England.

Some very high levels are also expected, mainly across southeast England but also possibly for some urban areas of Northern Ireland, central and eastern England. Air pollution is expected to remain low across Scotland.

Current air pollution levels are due to the continuing high pressure and associated light winds across the UK.

During periods of high air pollution adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience symptoms. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Older people should also reduce physical exertion.

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

For those parts of the country forecast to have very high levels of ambient air pollution, Public Health England is advising people to reduce physical exertion, particularly when outdoors and especially if they experience symptoms such as a cough or sore throat. Adults and children with lung problems, adults with heart problems, and older people, in areas where very high levels are recorded should avoid strenuous physical activity. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often.

Light winds and foggy conditions are expected to continue through Wednesday, especially across southern and eastern parts. This will lead to the ongoing risk of areas of moderate air pollution levels, along with isolated pockets of high levels. Meanwhile across the north and west increasing winds should lead to air pollution returning to low levels.

These low levels are expected to spread to all parts during Thursday and Friday as stronger winds extend east across the UK.

For the latest forecasts and health advice, please visit the Defra UK Air website and alerts for high levels of air pollution are issued by Defra via the Air UK Twitter account @DefraUKAir.

Further information:

  • The 5-day forecast of predicted air pollution levels is continually updated on the UK Air website, with advice from Public Health England to allow members of the public, particularly those who are most likely to be affected by air pollution, to take action.
  • We also work with health charities to make sure vulnerable people are aware of any periods of low air quality.

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