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

PUBLISHED: 14:26 02 April 2014 | UPDATED: 17:26 02 April 2014

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.


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.

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

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