Latest on air pollution: Norfolk schools, running clubs and hospitals take the problem in their stride

The red dust which has caked cars, on a BMW in King's Lynn. The red dust which has caked cars, on a BMW in King's Lynn.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
2:26 PM

The eastern region is one of the worst affected parts of the country with high levels of air pollution again today, but schools, running clubs and hospitals seem to be taking it in their stride.

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Air quality on Wednesday. Picture: DefraAir quality on Wednesday. Picture: Defra

Large parts of eastern England are experiencing “very high” levels of pollution again today.

And Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - is warning that people in some parts of England should be braced for the highest level of air pollution ever recorded.

Q&A: High air pollution levels in Norfolk

How Sahara dust came to NorfolkHow Sahara dust came to Norfolk

A Defra spokesman said the elevated pollution levels have been caused by light easterly winds continuing to bring in pollutants and allowing local pollutants to remain close to source, and dust which has blown up from the Sahara desert.

The high levels of air pollution have particularly affected asthmatics and other people with lung and heart problems, and older people have been told to avoid strenuous exercise or activity.

The air pollution, however, has not led to an influx of patients at the region’s hospitals or doctors’ surgeries.

James Hill's motorbike covered in dust in Downham MarketJames Hill's motorbike covered in dust in Downham Market

A spokesman for Southgates medical and surgical centre in Goodwins Road, King’s Lynn, said they had not seen an increase in the number of patients with illnesses related to air pollution.

And neither the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital nor King’s Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth hospital have experienced an increase in patients.

Meanwhile, Wally Oliver, chairman of the West Norfolk Athletic Club, based at Lynnsport, said athletes had not been told to take any extra precautions.

He said: “We have not done anything different because of the air pollution. We train in the evenings, when the pollution’s probably not as bad. There were no problems reported at the training session last night.”

Air quality on Thursday. Picture: DefraAir quality on Thursday. Picture: Defra

A spokesman for Springwood High School Academy in King’s Lynn said they had not changed their activities or cut back on PE classes because of the air pollution.

Saharan dust is lifted by strong winds and can reach very high altitudes, from there it can be transported worldwide by the wind.

The dust gets caught in rain droplets in clouds, falling to the ground in so-called ‘dirty rain’. When the water evaporates, a thin layer of dust is left on surfaces, like cars.

Saharan dust landing on Norfolk has, however been good news for car wash businesses, with many noticing a large increase in the amount of customers coming their way. Car salesmen have also reported layers of dust on all their vehicles.

How have you been affected by air pollution? Email reporter David Bale at david.bale2@archant.co.uk

33 comments

  • Received ours in Cromer today. Still struggling to clear the town, I can't see the top of the church tower.

    Report this comment

    Bruce87

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • "Bin here all me life" - Well old boy, I have been here all my life too - far longer than the 25 years you have given me. The problem is that too many people, like you, just get on with it, not caring about their community and end up with poor services. Do you think people enjoy paying taxes for poor services? The fact is, that it is not just sand causing the current pollution. It is a mixture of pollutions from Europe and the UK, such as industrial and traffic-related pollution and sand particles. Maybe you should understand the issues before dismissing them so quickly? Fly Tipper - One article I have just read said it could be as high as 29,000, but It is estimated that 5% of people in Norfolk die from pollution related diseases every year. Scientists do not pluck the figures out of thin air.

    Report this comment

    HappisburghHarry

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • @Daisy Roots "Never met an asthmatic until I was about 15". You need to get out more. About 110 children suffer from asthma. And that number is expected to go up year on year. Every consider for example that heavy metals from cars hover at child height when they exit the vehicle. These are real problems with will effect countless millions.

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Dear oh dear-doesnt Defra have something else to worry about-like bringing the Environment Agency to heel.All we need now is for the wind to pick up and make a big old fen blow and all the witterers will go into overdrive. I am just grateful that Ebola is not windborne !

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

  • Not an asthma sufferer then Daisy!!

    Report this comment

    Reader

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Indeed very old news as we had ours in Namibia in 1990.

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • A lot of taxpayers money would have been saved if Murphy had listend to taxpayers AND if Nobbs Castle and Co had kept their election promises even more money would have been saved. WE WANT MORE Councillor Kemps

    Report this comment

    John L Cooper

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Sorry HH, find it difficult to believe you are not an interloper with your political agenda in every post you make, who said anything about taxes and poor service, you just cant help your red rose love match coming through can you. This is a non story and will be forgotten by this time next week by the majority of people. Actually just read lord elp us comments he has put it much better than I could (probably went to a better sec mod than me).

    Report this comment

    "Bin here all me life"

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • What a non story! I have been outside for most of the day and it has been gorgeous! What pollution? I realise that it may be different in other parts of the county but according to the published charts I am in one of the worst polluted areas. Another climate scare story, I am sick to death with these alarmist non stories!

    Report this comment

    Lord 'Elp-Us

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Yes...it's 'looked' good all day. But looking good and being 'good' are not the same thing. I really worry for humanity with people who deny such things because they can't see them. No matter how many front page news articles there are, news reports on tv telling the old and unfit not to do anything too active, people in my office feeling the effects for the last few days, scientists country wide saying this is a real thing and backed it up with evidence..... But no, 'I can't see it and I'm lucky enough that it's not effect me, so logically it's not real'? Probably all members of the Flat Earth Society.

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • And obviously the dust has permeated my keyboard...only excuse I can offer for the double post above.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Daisy, you have spent so long in front of your computer that you no longer make sense!

    Report this comment

    HappisburghHarry

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

  • No Reader- and dust in March and April is something I consider to be normal as would anyone who had done their stint sitting on the back of a spud planter before they were automated. Before the nanny state maybe asthma sufferers would be expected to have the common sense to see what the weather conditions are like. In comparison with the days when we had heavy industry and every house had coal fires the air is clean don't you think,No Reader- and dust in March and April is something I consider to be normal as would anyone who had done their stint sitting on the back of a spud planter before they were automated. Before the nanny state maybe asthma sufferers would be expected to have the common sense to see what the weather conditions are like. In comparison with the days when we had heavy industry and every house had coal fires the air is clean don't you think? And what any clean air policy is meant to do about dust whipped up from Africa and a sluggish weather system defeats me. Like I said, we only need a Fen blow now turn this into EDP hysteria.And if you don't know what a fen blow is brush up on goggle.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Well my son has severe chronic lung disease of prematurity requiring home oxygen, it's very similar to emphesymia (sorry on spelling) he also has some heart issues because the pressure from his struggling lungs, so it is a worry to some people. I'm also ill with multiple issues but one of my milder ailments is asthma and I've been wheezing badly all wk so roll on the rain at the moment I say!

    Report this comment

    thumper327

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Oh yes daisy there are thousands of us that sat on back of spud planter. Get real. Not many of them in north London . And in the days of that sort of pollution people died. If there is a possibility that this weather will affect people with severe breathing etc problems then what is your problem with them being advised. I expect people with breathing problems also stayed indoors during a fen blow .stop being so condescending .

    Report this comment

    Reader

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • @Daisy Roots looks like my 1 (backslash) 10 was reedited to remove the backslash. So what I meant to say was one in ten. Not 110 :)

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • @Lord 'Elp-Us.. Yep, spoken like a true flat earther. Being selective with your wording to prove a point badly. Ozone depletion is a real thing, and it's effect on us (or lack of it) has never been in dispute, and it's still an ongoing concern. The millennium bug was a potential problem that yes we should have been concerned about (to much at stake to dismiss it), some would argue that it was a good thing we where prepared and came out the other end with little to no problems. Oil is running out, if you believe we have an infinite supply you're mad. Global warming is a name applied to what we now call 'climate change'. No one with an ounce of inelegance disputes it, but when the idea was originally floated we didn't know what we know today. We didn't have countless weather satellites, or ways to mapmeasure movement and temp of our oceans. Science has the ability to adjust and improve, and even change it's stance totally as time goes on and knowledge increases. If it didn't we would still be living In the Stone Age.

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • HH, I know you have'nt lived up here long so you won't have realised yet that we just get on with life up here, not make a big deal of every little thing, unlike the good folk of the capital. If you last 25 years here, then you might begin to realise how us good ol Norfolk boys think. Sand blowing in our faces is'nt that unusual in a county bordered by the beach you know. Never mind soon be time for electioneering then you will have more to fill your time with.

    Report this comment

    "Bin here all me life"

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Pollution, what pollution - it has been the clearest, freshest day for ages!

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • I doubt that Milliband has ever sat on the back of a spud planter.

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Thank you Monkey Nuts - When I was a kid in the 1960s the experts and scientists said we were heading for the next Ice Age. The experts said North Sea Oil would run out by the year 2000. In the 1970s the Ozone layer was going to be depleted so much we were going to fry. In the 1990s many experts said we should join the Euro or it would be a disaster for the UK economy. Scientists and experts told us that the Millenium bug was going to wreak havoc with our computers and global IT systems. Guess what? They were all wrong. Which is why the only truth I tend to be believe is what I can see and experience with my own eyes. I don't live on a flat earth, I just know my own mind and take a great deal of what is reported and said with a pinch of salt! You should try it sometimes.

    Report this comment

    Lord 'Elp-Us

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Daisy Roots - wrong again! There is the age old problem of the Sahara Dust, but most of the pollution is due to poor air quality from human-made sources, such as energy production, industrial processing, etc. Whilst you think the UK is better than it used to be, there are still 24,000 people die in the UK every year from pollution related diseases. Do you really think that is acceptable?

    Report this comment

    HappisburghHarry

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • @Daisy Roots looks like my 1 (backslash) 10 was reedited to remove the backslash. So what I meant to say was one in ten. Not 110 :)

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • 24,000 seems to be the magic number after doing a quick google.......24,000 die (pollution) 24,000 die (diabetes) and 24,000 (cold homes).....just thought it a coincidence of note.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Thank You Monkey Nuts – You are so kind, you don’t know me or other people posting here but are quick to make wild accusations and judgements. Firstly let me make it clear, I am not, and never have been a member of the “Flat Earth” society. Secondly, as someone blessed with moderate intelligence I have learned from experience that when a point of view is expressed I question who is saying it, why they are saying it and what their agenda is. It is apparent that you are quick to make assumed judgements and dismissive of other people’s point of view that do not concur with your own. I deliberately chose the millennium bug as an example of where opinion has been divided and many “experts and scientists” wrongly predicted a global meltdown of IT systems. I suspect that a clever individual in the IT industry hatched the concept of the millennium bug to increase computer sales, if so it was a huge success! One thing I know is that it was far easier for scientists and experts to predict the outcome of the millennium bug than it is to predict climate. Our climate changes continually due to a complex number of factors that no “expert or scientist” can currently predict or control accurately. For example if the Sun chooses to go through a period of high activity, resulting in higher temperatures here on earth, there is not a jot that you, I, experts, politicians and scientists can do to stop it. All we can do is adapt. Thank you for raising the subject of Global Warming. You are quite right this is what we used to call Climate Change but a number of scientists and experts, including NASA and our own UEA, found that for some unknown reason, global warming has stalled, or is not matching their “expert” predictions. So the Eco movement had to do a quick bit of rebranding and the term “climate change” fits the bill very nicely! No one can deny that the climate changes, it has done so since the earth existed. What I can deny, and oppose, is the imposition by highly motivated political activists in trying to control our lives and activities under the guise of saving the planet.

    Report this comment

    Lord 'Elp-Us

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • It is shocking the government is pressing on with plans to dismantle the air quality monitoring service just when it is becoming more needed.We humans have a right to breathe clean air.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Old news, got ours in madrid last friday

    Report this comment

    JB

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

  • Yes...it's 'looked' good all day. But looking good and being 'good' are not the same thing. I really worry for humanity with people who deny such things because they can't see them. No matter how many front page news articles there are, news reports on tv telling the old and unfit not to do anything too active, people in my office feeling the effects for the last few days, scientists country wide saying this is a real thing and backed it up with evidence..... But no, 'I can't see it and I'm lucky enough that it's not effect me, so logically it's not real'? Probably all members of the Flat Earth Society.

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • I am with Bin Here..the over exaggeration of humdrum events is rife in the digital age and tedious. I am very sorry for those with breathing problems ,but not for those who have smoked. Never met an asthmatic until I was about 15. All that clean Norfolk air must be what makes the move in cough..

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • We got ours in Dublin last weekend

    Report this comment

    RoadWarrior

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

  • Daisy - The 24,000 deaths per year are not due to smoking, but because of environmental air pollution. "Bin here all me life" - Do you really think polluting is perfectly as acceptable and the government shouldn't interfere?

    Report this comment

    HappisburghHarry

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Here we go again,molly coddling nanny state. So pleased to see that the good people of Norfolk are taking it in there stride.

    Report this comment

    "Bin here all me life"

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Thank You Monkey Nuts – You are so kind, you don’t know me or other people posting here but are quick to make wild accusations and judgements. Firstly let me make it clear, I am not, and never have been a member of the “Flat Earth” society. Secondly, as someone blessed with moderate intelligence I have learned from experience that when a point of view is expressed I question who is saying it, why they are saying it and what their agenda is. It is apparent that you are quick to make assumed judgements and dismissive of other people’s point of view that do not concur with your own. I deliberately chose the millennium bug as an example of where opinion has been divided and many “experts and scientists” wrongly predicted a global meltdown of IT systems. I suspect that a clever individual in the IT industry hatched the concept of the millennium bug to increase computer sales, if so it was a huge success! One thing I know is that it was far easier for scientists and experts to predict the outcome of the millennium bug than it is to predict climate. Our climate changes continually due to a complex number of factors that no “expert or scientist” can currently predict or control accurately. For example if the Sun chooses to go through a period of high activity, resulting in higher temperatures here on earth, there is not a jot that you, I, experts, politicians and scientists can do to stop it. All we can do is adapt. Thank you for raising the subject of Global Warming. You are quite right this is what we used to call Climate Change but a number of scientists and experts, including NASA and our own UEA, found that for some unknown reason, global warming has stalled, or is not matching their “expert” predictions. So the Eco movement had to do a quick bit of rebranding and the term “climate change” fits the bill very nicely! No one can deny that the climate changes, it has done so since the earth existed. What I can deny, and oppose, is the imposition by highly motivated political activists in trying to control our lives and activities under the guise of saving the planet.

    Report this comment

    Lord 'Elp-Us

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

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