Toxic cloud returns: Defra warns of "high or very high" levels as Saharan dust mixes with Continental pollution

Catherine Neilan
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London skyline under the toxic cloud in March (Source: Getty)

London is bracing itself for another wave of pollution blowing over from the Continent – but this time it'll be mixed with Saharan dust.

The capital is set to get the brunt of the bad air, with the government warning of “high or very high” levels of pollution from later today and into tomorrow. The air is expected to have cleared by Saturday.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has warned that adults and children with heart or lung problems should avoid physical exertion, particularly outdoors. These people are at risk of exacerbated symptoms, Defra said.
Dr Sotiris Vardoulakis, head of the air pollution and climate change group at Public Health England's (PHE) Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards said: “While most people will not be affected by short-term peaks in air pollution, some individuals, particularly those with existing heart or lung conditions, may experience increased 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.”
Where will the air pollution be worst?
Today (April 9), Defra has said most parts of England and Wales will see only moderate levels, although warned there will be isolated high levels in localised urban roadside locations.

Source: Defra

Air pollution is also forecast to reach moderate levels in parts of southwestern and northern Scotland, as well as the east of Northern Ireland.
Tomorrow air pollution is expected to become high in many areas of central, eastern and northern England, with locally very high levels forecast for a time in the far southeast of England.
This is due to a combination of pollutants trapped near the ground, a light southeasterly flow bringing additional pollutants from the continent and, in addition, a small amount of Saharan dust in the air.
Across the rest of the United Kingdom, levels of air pollution are expected to be mainly moderate.

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