Defra puts UK on Smog alert

The high pressure system persisting over the UK is forecast to bring warm and still conditions to the UK over the Easter weekend. These conditions mean it is likely that the UK will experience a high pollution episode this weekend.  High pressure tends to trap air near to the surface allowing pollution levels to build up and with little wind there is not a great deal to move this around.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs is responsible for air quality across the UK. Defra have said that elevated levels of PM10 and ozone reaching high or moderate are expected from now until at least Sunday. The forecast is therefore for high pollution for PM10 and ozone across England and Wales, and low for other pollutants over the weekend.

Some people are more sensitive to ozone than others and may begin to notice an effect on their breathing. People with asthma are not necessarily more sensitive but, if affected, can use their ‘reliever’ inhaler. The public are urged to take sensible precautions such as:

  • avoiding exercise outdoors in the afternoon can reduce exposure to ozone; and
  • avoiding making unnecessary short car journeys wherever possible can reduce the formation of ozone.

Regular updates on levels of particulate matter (PM10), sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide are available at: uk-air.defra.gov.uk (UK Air Information Resource) and from Defra’s freephone helpline (0800 556677), which also offers health advice to those who may be particularly sensitive to air pollution.

More information on the Smog can be obtained from Defra at http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2011/04/21/summer-smog/

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