Spike in breathing problems reported in north-west

Dust from the Saharan desert has been settling on cars in parts of the country.
Dust from the Saharan desert has been settling on cars in parts of the country. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

The number of 999 calls from north-west patients struggling with breathing problems has soared by 15% this week, the region's ambulance has said.

According to the Manchester Evening News, the North West Ambulance Service has seen 985 such calls between Sunday and Wednesday compared to 858 between in the previous four days.

A spokeswoman for the service told the newspaper that while the increase appeared to be linked to an increase in pollution levels, the cause was not completely certain.

Read: Rise in 999 calls as parts of UK hit by heavy air pollution

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High levels of pollution expected to clear

Air pollution levels remain high across parts of England and Wales but are expected to reduce later today. The South East and Greater London are still experiencing "high" levels of pollution, Defra warns.