Asthma and heart patients hit by poor air

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Ambulance services have seen a rise in 999 calls as the UK continued to be gripped by high levels of pollution yesterday.

The London Ambulance Service recorded a 14 per cent jump in emergency calls for help with breathing difficulties, asthma and heart problems, while the West Midlands Ambulance Service has also seen more people with breathing and heart trouble.

A perfect storm of dust from the Sahara, emissions from the continent, low south-easterly winds and domestic pollution has caused air quality to plummet across the UK although the smog-like conditions are expected to start to improve today.

Prime Minister David Cameron gave up his regular morning jog because of the poor air quality.

He said: “It is unpleasant, and you can feel it in the air.

“The advice I would give to people is listen very carefully to what the Met Office is saying about the weather. Public Health England’s website, you can look at that. Or just go to gov.uk, which is the Government’s website, which will give you the latest in terms of medical advice.

“I didn’t go for my morning run this morning. I chose to do some work instead.

“You can feel it. But it’s a naturally occurring weather phenomenon. It sounds extraordinary, Saharan dust, but that is what it is.”

But London mayor Boris Johnson told ITV London he had been cycling around the city and “it seemed perfectly fine”.