British Lung Foundation
33,714 members41,192 posts

Air pollution and you

Hi all,

Defra* has invited the British Lung Foundation to a meeting next month. They want to us to help discuss the best way to provide information about air pollution to the public – especially to those living with lung conditions.

It would really help to hear about your experiences if you are affected by air pollution, or if you have already used a service that sends you a text or email alert on high pollution days.

1.Do you feel the effects of air pollution day to day or in certain places?

2.What, if anything, do you do differently on days when the pollution is bad?

3.Have you tried any kind of pollution alerts service for your area?

4.How would you like to find out about worsening pollution and areas to avoid near where you live?

We’d love to hear your thoughts so we can give a better picture of how things could be improved.

Many thanks,


(*DEFRA is the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

15 Replies

Banning the use of diesel fuel would help!!!!!!!!!!!!. two many pollutants.

1 like

Very interesting I've spent years dodgin society with all the toxins and chemicals,air pollution I would like personal e-mails,the last time I did not know about the ash and went out to collect my prescription then go to chemist,I only just survived,that's why the rest of the services have to keep up,so I don't have to go out on days like that. So there is a lot to discuss .also flowering pollen trees put me in hospital last year,in the summer,it's vital to keep up this info ,unless you have brilliant inhalors .survival kit.


Thanks for bringing the subject up. I live between the A1 and M1 motorway and near a coal fired power station, and I check the pollution level daily on the BBC Weather website, as well as the DEFRA site when air quality is very poor.

I try and keep inside on bad days which is a nuisance


Hi Knitter, Living between all those polluting areas must be pretty frustrating if you have to stay inside when the air quality is bad.

What do you think of the Defra site? If there are things you think they could do to improve it then this would be a great time to feed back to them.


Pete has been affected by pollution on hot days and we tend to stay in then. We do not have any alerts issued to us though I have heard of this.


I have heard of alerts but do not receive personal alerts about air pollution. A lot of weather sites give you the pollen count in summer, but very little else. I would like to see email warnings via the NHS to know lung disease sufferers. Obviously with the rising figures of asthmatics and COPD it is apparent there may be more pollution around than we suspect which adds to the breathing difficulties of those who are ill and can contribute to causing lung conditions. So we need to look to the future in respect of pollution warnings.


Would that include work place polution ... Uk is on par with india with rates of lung diease but not with research

Also are defra going to ask our irritating gov why they are rolling back health a safety policy so its easer for employers to gas kill its workers

Ant hole efos of government to learn of past generations and protect fuctrue one's from sharp dodgy work place pratices e's


Hi I find traffic pollution makes my cough quite a lot worse. When I go to town I usually have to use my blue inhaler more to avoid having a coughing fit. x


Thanks for the post Bethany. I have severe COPD.

It would be very useful to recieve a daily e mail or text stating local humidity level, pollen level, pollution level, wind chill factor, damp weather and fog alerts.

I use the internet to find information. I expect there will be people who do not have internet or text so maybe a text or e mail to a named relative would be useful.

On very hot days, I don't go out till about 5pm or if I do, I stay in shade. I live near The Blackwater estuary in Essex and we usually get a fair bit of damp and fog in winter. Pre warning of this would help plan ahead.

As Katieoxo60 says, it may be something the NHS could take on or joint funding between DEFRA and NHS

Thank You


Thanks for all of your comments guys and please do keep them coming. We're starting to build a picture of the impact air pollution is having and there are some interesting ideas and points that we can try to raise at the meeting.


1.Do you feel the effects of air pollution day to day or in certain places? = Yes

2.What, if anything, do you do differently on days when the pollution is bad? = Stay in the house

3.Have you tried any kind of pollution alerts service for your area? = Did not know there was one?

4.How would you like to find out about worsening pollution and areas to avoid near where you live? = WWW

When we had the last smog alert I had to go out and I wish I had not I was stopping after a few steps until I got to the store.

Good luck with them.


Yes Bethany, I do get affected by the pollution in the air around me. I am not far from an incinerator and on the days that they incinerate my breathing is worse. Also not far from M40 with heavy duty traffic. A lot depends on the type of weather. If there is no breeze to disperse the noxious gasses then my breathing/lungs suffer. There are also people who burn their garden refuse around our area, especially at the end of Autumn here in Buckinghamshire. I have to keep indoors then. I wonder how one could measure the pollution there?


This is really helpful, thank you. The meeting isn't until early February so if anyone wants to add anything before then, please do. I'll try to post something after the meeting to let you know how it went.


Hi all,

Thank you again for your comments. The meeting went well - there were a number of different charities at the meeting and officials at DEFRA found the feedback very interesting.

DEFRA are in the process of changing their pollution forecasting website to make it more accessible to patients. If there are further opportunities for you to feed into that process then we will of course let you know.

Thanks again.



I am an asthma and bronchiectis sufferer, and have had a very bad reaction to the pollution last week. There was no early warnings on the national news or more importantly my local southern news. I picked up an alert for Friday, but it had reached my area on Thursday, and by then i was coughing non stop, headache, blocked nose, and wheezing really badly. Almost a week later i am still on round the clock nebulisers, high dose steroids and antibi's, and my peak flow is worrying low still.

I have an email alert from the weather centre every day during the summer with the pollen alert, but have been unable to find a government website that can do the same for me with bad air/pollution alerts, especially for the south coast which seems to be the first to be hit with the european smogs and saharan desert particles.

Any warnings, the earlier the better,would help, by text or email, and especially early warnings even if false alarms, on regional news programmes please.


You may also like...