Londoners warned to avoid physical exercise due to ‘very high’ levels of pollution

Last night the government’s UK-Air website forecasted a rare episode of ‘very high’ pollution ranked 10/10 for potential harm – the first such rating in the city since March 2018.

Londoners have been warned to avoid strenuous physical exercise today due to soaring levels of pollution in the capital.

Last night, the government’s UK-Air website forecasted a rare episode of ‘very high’ pollution ranked 10/10 for potential harm – the first such rating in the city since March 2018.

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The warning has since been downgraded to eight, but advice still remains in place.

This is a result of the high pressure and light winds.

These stagnant conditions can allow poor air to build up and linger.

The map from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, shows the area of highest pollution sitting right across central London from Hammersmith in the west to Docklands in the east.

Areas of high pollution in Central London. Credit: Defra UK

According to official Government health advice people with lung or heart problems should avoid strenuous physical activity while healthy people should “reduce physical exertion, particularly outdoors” until the dirty air clears away on Saturday.

Simon Birkett, founder and director of Clean Air in London said: “Londoners are literally stewing in their own juice with our own fumes trapped in still air for days.

“It is a stark reminder of how much we need to reduce building emissions as well as traffic emissions.

“Please do not burn wood on Friday.”

This comes just days after the mayor of London Sadiq Khan issued a warning about the impact congestion in the capital could have on its air quality.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Credit: Lia Toby/Getty Images for BFI

“Whilst we have made huge strides in increasing walking and cycling in London throughout the pandemic, car use has remained consistently high,”he said.

“If we do not double down on our efforts to deliver a greener, more sustainable future we will replace one public health crisis with another – caused by filthy air and gridlocked roads.

“The cost to both Londoners and the capital cannot be underestimated, with days wasted stuck in traffic, billions lost to the economy and increased road danger and health impacts.

“Most traffic is caused simply by there being too great a demand for limited street space, meaning the only long-term solution can be to significantly reduce car use in favour of greener means of travel.”

Pollution levels are expected to return to normal on Saturday.