max temp: 15°C

min temp: 11°C

ESTD 1874 Search

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

John Lewis opened in Chelmsford last month

An Essex woman is calling on retailers to do more for larger women after feeling “worthless” during a recent trip to the new John Lewis store in Chelmsford.

The puppy had horrific injuries and vets were forced to put it down to end its suffering

An eight-week-old Jack Russell terrier suffering from devastating injuries was handed to vets in Braintree on Monday.

Pupils of Haughley Primary School with Halloween lanterns they made in October 1987.

Halloween is just around the corner, meaning pumpkin carving and trick or treating will take over our lives for the next few days.

Enchanted Forest, Anglo Saxon village, West Stow - Pamela Bidwell

This week our iwitness themes was eerie Suffolk - open to anything that may spook or look odd.

Pigeons gathering for an early morning meeting at the farm gate - by Heather Tanner

Everyday our readers send in photos to iwitness24 that they have taken while out and about along the Suffolk coast, visiting one of our many beauty spots or while relaxing in their own gardens.

Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court

Magistrates’ courts could return to towns such as Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds, the police and crime commissioner has said, despite the Government shutting all but one of Suffolk’s summary courthouses last month.

CCTV images of a burglary in Ipswich

Police have released CCTV images of a man they wish to speak to after a home in Ipswich was burgled last month.

Most read

Great Days Out


Click here to view
the Great Days Out


Most commented


Show Job Lists


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24