Poor Air Quality

Air quality has improved significantly over recent decades. However, more needs to be done to reduce air pollution to ensure a cleaner, healthier environment.

Short-term surges in poor air quality occur primarily due to weather conditions preventing pollution from dispersing, such as low winds, or when a layer of warmer air traps colder air close to the ground (known as ‘temperature inversion’). Air quality is also worsened by the ultraviolet light from sun as it reacts with the air to generate ozone.

Poor air quality is a risk to health, particularly for those with pre-existing heart and lung conditions and especially among children and the elderly. Typical day to day air pollution is not within the scope of this risk.

Poor air quality can be a risk to anyone with respiratory conditions (such as asthma) or cardiovascular conditions (such as heart trouble). If you think that you or a member of your family might be at risk, or if you or someone in your family has a history of experiencing particular problems with poor air quality, you may find the website linked in the 'further information' section of this page helpful.

Those with pre-existing conditions should follow your doctor’s usual advice about exercising and managing your condition and take simple precautions like packing an extra inhaler.

You can check the daily pollution forecast before you travel to get some advance warning of poor air quality.

Air quality

noun_Phone_140415_f53107Air Quality Helpline (free): 0800 556677                  


Further information

MET Office - air pollution effects