Air pollution warning for South East England

Defra confirms ‘moderate’ air pollution levels expected in region as result of easterly winds

People suffering respiratory problems have been advised to limit physical activity, following reports of high air pollution levels in the South East of England today (September 18).

The Met Office has warned that weeks of low pressure means pollution in the region is higher than usual, although the rest of the UK is unlikely to be affected.

Forecast map shows pockets of high air pollution in the south east

Forecast map shows pockets of high air pollution in the south east

Health advisors have warned people with respiratory conditions – including heart problems – should try and reduce physical exertion. Meanwhile, asthma sufferers may also need to use their inhalers more frequently.

The increase in pollution is expected to be short-lived and will not be on the same scale as the high levels forecast in April this year, when light winds combined with Saharan dust saw pollution levels rocket across much of England and Wales (see story).

A spokesperson for Defra said: “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.”


The Met Office report follows growing concerns that air pollution levels in the UK and the rest of Europe are on the rise.

Earlier this month, the European Respiratory Society published data showing a ‘clear link’ between exposure to air pollution and deteriorating lung health in adults (see story).

And, the Labour Party has launched a campaign to help councils monitor and reduce air pollution. Shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle MP criticised the government and London Mayor for offering ‘no support’ to local authorities that wanted to implement low emission zones (see story).


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Henry Lott
Henry Lott
9 years ago

I live in Sittingbourne, Kent and today’s pollution is worse than April this year. You see particles floating in the headlights of cars and street lights. It is sting our eyes and making people cough and get breathless.

This is not normal.

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