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City in Euro smog alert
11:24am Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
FIRST we had Le Pong, now Southampton has been hit by Euro smog.
Contaminated clouds drifting across the English Channel have been blamed for high levels of air pollution recorded in the city.
It was so bad this week that it triggered advice to people with lung and heart problems to cut down on outdoor activities.
Southampton City Council confirmed the raised pollution was due to winds bringing dirty air over from areas in Belgium and the Netherlands.
High levels of pollutant particles called PM2.5 were recorded in Southampton on Tuesday by analysts at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
It comes just two months after a foul-smelling mercaptan gas cloud wafted over the Channel from a chemicals factory in the French city of Rouen.
Residents across the south feared the nasty whiff was a dangerous gas leak.
As part of the latest scare, a spokesman for Southampton City Council confirmed that the council had used the usual alerting system to inform residents.
Cllr Asa Thorpe, Southampton City Council’s cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “We have air quality management zones and officers to ensure we take steps to improve air quality.
“It is absolutely a worry. In these areas there are residential areas and schools so it is a worry we are seeing this happen more.”
Keith Taylor, Green Party South East England MEP, said: “With Southampton’s children and older people being hit hardest by poor air quality, and the levels of some noxious pollutants on the rise, we badly need to see strong legislation from the European Union in 2013.”
The Euro smog alert comes as environmental campaign group ClientEarth launched a case against the Government after claiming it has failed to meet legal limits for air quality.
The case was due to be heard by the Supreme Court in London today.
Maria Arnold, health and environment advisor at ClientEarth, said PM2.5 is the cause of 29,000 premature deaths a year, according to calculations from the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants.