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Suffolk: High levels of pollution as dust blows in from the Sahara desert – with many places in Suffolk among the worst affected

10:48 02 April 2014

Dust from the Sahara Desert on cars

Dust from the Sahara Desert on cars

Parts of Suffolk and Essex are experiencing high levels of air pollution – with dust blown in from the Sahara desert leaving a thin layer of dirt on many vehicles across the region.

Dust from the Sahara Desert on cars Dust from the Sahara Desert on cars

And experts have warned that people should be braced for even more over the next few days.

The East of England and Midlands are the worst-affected areas but large swathes of England and Wales will see high levels of pollution today, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

The elevated pollution levels have been caused by a combination of light south-easterly winds, the continental air flow and dust which has blown up from the Sahara desert, a spokeswoman said.

According to Defra’s pollution forecast, the people in the region can expect “very high” levels of pollution.

The organisation has a 10 point scale for measuring air quality, with 10 being a warning of very high levels. Towns in Suffolk which will experience that level today include Sudbury and Leiston.

Parts of East Anglia will experience “high” levels and parts of south-east England and the Humber region will experience “moderate” pollution.

“The current elevated pollution levels over parts of the UK are caused by light winds allowing the build-up of pollution, plus dust from the Sahara contributing to pollution levels,” according to the Defra forecast.

However, experts are anticipating “high” or “very high” air pollution levels across much of England and Wales.

And the high levels of pollution are expected to continue across East Anglia and the Midlands tomorrow.

But the air pollution is expected to ebb away by Friday.

At the weekend, some people found their cars to be covered in a light coating of red dust. The Met Office said that a large amount of sand and dust was swept up by storm winds in the Sahara desert.

Experts said that the airborne particles of dust were blown north to the UK where they combined with our warm air and were deposited during showers.

A Defra spokeswoman said: “The high level of air pollution this week is due to a combination of local emissions, light winds, pollution from the continent and dust blown over from the Sahara.

“We want to keep improving air quality and have introduced a new five-day forecast service in addition to investing heavily in local and transport initiatives to tackle this issue head-on.”

Defra has a 10-point scale for measuring air quality - with 1 meaning there is a “low” risk of air pollution and 10 warning of “very high” levels.



  • This isn't being reported very clearly. As well as bits of desert there are nasty European pollutants and fine patriotic British car fumes.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • I think defra need a new scale. What if there was dangerous pollution and people were struggling to breathe. Would this be 12 or 13 out of 10 on their scale?

    Report this comment

    Ted Maul

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Its Dust from a desert not pollution, Pollution sounds better if your looking for a way to Tax people more for nothing though I suppose. Much like Climate Change really. Since the moment Planet Earth was formed the climate has been constantly changing and forever will regardless of its inhabitants. Man made global warming just makes the gullible happier about paying more taxes to exist.

    Report this comment

    Modern day slave

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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