Health scare with very high air pollution levels

There are further health warnings for the Anglia region as air pollution is forecast to hit high or very high levels. Vulnerable people are being advised not to take exercise outdoors.

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Picture: Iconic Norwich Cathedral barely visible through smog

Norwich Cathedral was smothered by smog today. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Record levels of pollution have continued to affect the region.

This morning the Met Office issued an air quality warning, and today the East has suffered some of the worst conditions in the country.

A combination of factors, including dust from the Sahara desert and emissions blown in from Europe is being blamed.

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Smog-covered Norwich's pollution level hits 'high'

Norwich was among the cities covered in smog this morning as health experts warn those with heart and lung conditions, including asthma, to avoid strenuous activity outdoors.

The scene in Norwich this morning as pollution levels remain high. Credit: ITV News

People suffering symptoms of pollution - including sore eyes, coughs and sore throats - should also cut down the amount they do outside, experts said.

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Updated forecast predicts higher pollution levels

The latest pollution forecast: Purple areas indicate very high pollution risk Credit: Defra / Met Office

The latest air quality forecast from the Met Office is predicting that very high pollution levels will continue through Thursday in the Anglia region.

It had been forecast that pollution levels would drop but that prediction has now been reversed and it is expected pollution will be worse.

Pollution levels have already reached level 9 (high) in the South East, Greater London and Eastern England, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has reported on its website.

Defra ranks air pollution from one to 10, with one being the lowest and 10 the highest.

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Behind the scenes at an air quality monitoring station

Air quality monitoring stations across the UK measure particles of dust in the air that can be breathed into the lungs.

ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn visited a monitoring station in King's Lynn in Norfolk:

Health manager Dave Robson of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Council told ITV News the levels at the local station were "above what we'd normally see".

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How sand from the Sahara landed in Britain

Saharan sand and dust blown over from Africa has added to Britain's pollution problems this week. It has been captured in a Met Office satellite sequence.

The Met Office says Saharan dust is lifted by strong winds and can reach very high altitudes; from there it can be transported worldwide by winds, covering distances of thousands of miles. The dust gets caught in rain droplets in clouds, falling to the ground in rain.

Paul Hutcheon from the Met Office said “We usually see this happen several times a year when big dust storms in the Sahara coincide with southerly winds to bring that dust here. More dust rain is possible during showers expected this week.”

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