East: Air Pollution At Highest Level

3 April 2014, 11:45 | Updated: 3 April 2014, 11:55

The highest level of air pollution is forecast across Norfolk and Suffolk today.

It's being linked to a storm of dust from the Sahara, emissions from the Continent, low south-easterly winds and domestic pollution. That's caused air quality to plummet and the smog-like conditions are not expected to clear until tomorrow.

Air pollution levels for Greater London and the South East were "very high", according to Defra's 9am update, while levels were high in East Anglia.

Very high levels were also forecast for the East Midlands.

Anyone with lung and heart conditions have been told to avoid strenuous activity outdoors while people suffering symptoms of pollution - including sore eyes, coughs and sore throats - should cut down the amount they do outside, health experts said.

Asthmatics have been warned of the need to use their blue reliever inhalers more often as they could be prone to attacks over the next few days.

Around two-thirds of the 3.6 million people with asthma find that air pollution makes their asthma worse.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn said there had been no noticeable impact on admissions.

The advice, from Public Health England (PHE), Asthma UK and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, comes after a warning that parts of England are experiencing the highest level of air pollution ever recorded by Defra.

Across much of England, moderate to high air pollution levels were measured yesterday, with level 8 (high) in the South East and Eastern regions and level 7 (high) in Greater London.

Some schools in London have banned pupils from outdoor playgrounds to reduce their exposure to the fog.

The decision was supported by Professor Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King's College London and a member of the Department of Health's Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution, who said it would help reduce long-term harm to children.

Sotiris Vardoulakis, head of air pollution at PHE's centre for radiation, chemical and environmental hazards, said most people will not be affected by short-term peaks in air pollution, but some groups, such as those with existing heart or lung conditions, may experience increased symptoms.