UK braced for spell of moderate air pollution

Warm weekend weather likely to lead to moderate period of air pollution, according to Defra air pollution forecast.

Defra has warned that some areas of the UK may experience high levels of air pollution this weekend, with a warm spell of weather and winds sweeping pollution in from the continent.

Air pollution forecast May 6

Defra’s air pollution forecast map for Saturday (7 May)

According to the government’s air pollution forecasting website, on Saturday (7 May) pockets of locally high air pollution levels are possible, with large areas of moderate air pollution expected.

And, high levels of air pollution are again locally possible on Sunday with widespread moderate air pollution, thereafter pollution levels will generally become low.

Despite the forecast and potential for some incidences of high air pollution, no air quality alerts have as yet been issued by the government.

Moderate pollution levels are also forecast for London for both Saturday and Sunday, particularly in the centre of the city.


The warning has prompted the environmental law firm ClientEarth to appeal to the incoming Mayor of London, who is expected to be announced this evening, following yesterday’s City Hall election, to act urgently on air quality.

London’s air pollution levels have been among the key issues in the build up to the Mayoral Election, with frontrunners Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan both pledging to act to reduce emissions.

ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews, said: “The next Mayor of London needs to join forces with Mayors across Europe to ensure that air pollution legislation in Brussels protects Londoners rather than heavily polluting industries.

“And instead of lobbying in Brussels for weaker pollution targets, our government should be working with our European neighbours to cut pollution across the continent and acting to reduce the home-grown pollution which chokes our towns and cities on a daily basis.”


The law firm last week learned that it will be heading back to the High Court this summer to pursue its case against the government over the plan to tackle nitrogen dioxide levels in the UK, which exceed legal limits set out by the European Commission.

ClientEarth claims that the government’s plans, which include implementing Clean Air Zones in five English cities by 2020, do not go far enough towards tackling levels of NO2 and would leave the UK in breach EU legal limits until at least 2025, when the original deadline to meet these limits was 2010.


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