Hertfordshire residents told to ‘keep safe’ after rise in air pollution

County Hall, Hertford

County Hall, Hertford - Credit: Archant

Welwyn Hatfield residents are being encouraged to keep safe and avoid strenuous exercise after a rise in air pollution levels.

Sand and dust from the Sahara desert has swept into the country, and is particularly affecting the south and east of England, after strong gales.

There is no major adverse health impact from the dust long term, and many people will not notice much difference other than a haze in the atmosphere.

Hertfordshire County Council are warning people who have asthma or get breathless are particularly vulnerable to the dust causing some short term avoidable problems, which could be serious in some cases.

They are also advising against strenuous activity, such as cycling or running until the pollution clears.

Teresa Heritage, Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “We’ve seen a rise in pollution levels due to a mix of fine sand in the atmosphere from the Sahara, prevailing weather conditions and particles from traffic and other activity.

“It’s particularly high in parts of Eastern England and is forecast to be here until Friday when it gets much fresher and we expect some rain.”

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DEFRA also advices that: “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.”

You can get more information from UK Air, which is a DEFRA website http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/

If you are worried ring and are likely to experience breathlessness or have symptoms call for advice on 111.