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Met Office warns of high pollution levels in southeast England



Weeks of low pressure bringing pollution from across the country to the southeast of England has led the Met Office to issue a health alert to vulnerable people such as elderly and children.

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The warning has been issued for Thursday in the southeast, with moderate levels of air pollution expected on Friday as well. The situation should be back to normal by the weekend or on Monday next week.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement, “Moderate levels of air pollution are forecast for central and southern England as well as eastern Wales. High levels may also be observed across parts of south-east and southern England. This is due to stable conditions and easterly winds bringing pollution across from the near continent.

“Scotland, Northern Ireland and much of northern England are expected to see low levels of air pollution although isolated pockets of moderate [pollution] are possible in urban or industrial areas.”

People with respiratory problems, as well as elderly and children have been told to pay particular attention to their health.

The UK experienced a pollution crisis earlier this year, when a mix of industrial emissions, weather events and a dust storm caused very high levels of pollution in some parts of the UK, fuelling fear over public health, after it emerged that air pollution contributes to around 29,000 deaths every year.

Controversy also arose after a study argued that London’s popular Oxford Street has the worst pollution levels in the world, a claim that mayor Boris Johnson dismissed as ‘bollocks’.

The UK is currently breaching EU’s air quality standards and recently the government admitted it would not be able to achieve set targets before 2030.

Photo: Craig Nagy via Flickr

Further reading:

Air pollution ‘public health risk’, warns PHE

MPs launch inquiry into air quality improvement

What is causing the high levels of air pollution in the UK?

London’s Oxford Street has ‘world’s highest’ levels of diesel fumes

Urban air quality ‘deteriorating’ – with pollution in nine UK cities above safe levels


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