ASHBOURNE was covered by a murky smog yesterday and it is expected to continue into today.
It was due to high levels of air pollution caused by a mixture of dust blown over from the Sahara desert and industrial smoke coming from Europe.
Paul Carfoot, an amateur weatherman from Burton, said it was very unusual to see this level of pollution at this time of year and could not remember it reaching this scale in April before.
He said: “The dust has come from the Sahara and it arrived before the storm on Monday.
Asthmatics have been told they might have to use their blue reliever inhalers more often as they could be prone to attacks over the next few days.
Other people with lung and heart problems, and those who are older, have been told to avoid strenuous exercise or activity.
The advice was released by Public Health England, Asthma UK and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
A spokesperson for Royal Derby Hospital said they were aware of the potential for an increased number of admissions while the pollution is at its peak.
He said: “We have, as standard, a 24-hour respiratory consultancy service and we are geared up for any seasonal or variational weather or climate changes.
“We are aware that there might be a rise in admissions but we have not seen one.”
Defra released a statement explaining the unusually high levels of pollution: “It is due to light easterly winds continuing to bring in pollutants and allowing local pollutants to remain close to source.
“There may also be some component due to Saharan dust.”
Today, high levels of pollution are forecast for East Anglia, the Midlands, Lincolnshire, eastern parts of Wales, through the Wirral and the north coast of Wales.
High levels will move north over much of coastal north-west England, to south-west Scotland and the north-east of Northern Ireland.
Councillor Dave Allen, Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for health and communities, said: “Most people won’t be affected by short-term peaks in air pollution but vulnerable groups, like people with heart or lung conditions, may experience increased symptoms.”