Frequently Asked Questions
Where should I live if I want to reduce my exposure to air pollution?
There is no simple answer to this frequently asked question. Pollution builds up in towns and cities where it can become trapped between buildings, and in prolonged still, sunny weather in the summer and in still foggy weather in winter. It will also build up in low lying areas i.e. valleys, between hills etc – so pollutant levels are dependent on topography of the area and weather conditions as well as local and regional sources. Pollutants may also be carried long distances on prevailing winds. For example, polluted air masses from Europe sometimes contribute to high ozone levels on the south coast. Ozone levels are often higher in the countryside than towns, but the pollutants that form it are generally generated in towns.
If you feel that the quality of air where you live is affecting your health, and want to move somewhere where the air is cleaner, talk to the Environmental Health Department in that area to find out what you can about air quality there. Many local authorities now have excellent websites with information on the local environment too. Generally, open areas and coastal areas should be cleaner as air changes more frequently (apart from seaside resorts on a hot bank holiday!). It may also help to visit the area you would like to move to for a few days and see if you feel any better (Information taken from the NSCA website).