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Air pollution advice to the public

For latest updates visit the Defra UK Air website at uk-air.defra.gov.uk.

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Widespread moderate air pollution is currently being measured across many parts of the UK today (24 January) due to still and foggy weather conditions, with some areas of high pollution across southeast England, very high pollution in London and isolated pockets of very high across eastern England.

High levels are expected across southeast England and some very high levels in London and the east of England. Moderate levels are being measured in south Wales, South West England, the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside and Northwest England. Air pollution is expected to remain low across Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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 Tuesday (24 January), 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 from Wednesday (25 January).

These low levels are expected to spread to all parts during Thursday (26 January) and Friday (27 January) as stronger winds extend east across the UK.

For the latest forecasts and health advice, please visit Defra’s UK Air website. Alerts for high levels of air pollution are also 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.
Published 23 January 2017
Last updated 24 January 2017 + show all updates
  1. Air pollution advice updated for 24 January.
  2. First published.