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Not to be sneezed at: The UK’s top hay fever hotspots for spring 2024

Pollen levels will be painfully high from April 7th to May 5th, and caution is advised.

A honey bee buzzing over flowers. Image by © Tim Sandle
A honey bee buzzing over flowers. Image by © Tim Sandle

Allergy sufferers, in terms of hay fever, should avoid the West Midlands, as this region received the highest pollen integral count on the list. The second highest region is Southeast England, where total pollen integral came in at 24,596 and an average daily pollen count of 202.50.

These findings are based on research conducted by Two Wombats, which measured the average pollen count across spring for seasoned pollens along with the number of high risk days and air quality for the next 3 months in each region.

Next on the list is East England, this region has several woodlands and forests, especially in areas like Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire, which greatly help pollen production. Pollen levels will be painfully high from April 7th to May 5th, and caution is advised.

South Central England ranked fourth with a pollen integral of 17,212. The region is characterised by extensive woodlands, parks, and grassy areas, where Oaks seem to thrive. These trees are the most significant pollen producers in the area, and April 24th to June 6th are the most dangerous days for allergy sufferers.

The list of pollen hotspots in the U.K. comprise

RankAreaPollen IntegralAverage Pollen per DayHigh Risk DaysAir QualityTotal ScoreMost Common Pollen Type
1West Midlands26701201.89103368.97Oak
2Southeast England24596202.509040.78.51Birch
3East of England17686123.2778526.82Birch
4South Central England17212112.828037.45.79Oak
5East Midlands18435131.888431.85.69Birch
6Wales1010479.824240.65.46Ash
7Southwest England894360.634341.43.88Ash
8Northwest England16069104.0868233.82Birch
9Northeast England397659.924628.62.30Birch
10Northern Ireland764343.312820.81.56Ash
11Scotland529333.531921.21.55Birch

In contrast, Scotland is the most favourable region for people vulnerable to allergies.

Spring has arrived and the first ‘pollen bomb’ of the year is set to hit any day now. Millions of residents in the U.K. are expected to be affected, and according to a new study, the West Midlands is the worst.

Scotland’s cooler climate and frequent rainfall limit the growth of pollen-producing plants, making it a safer place for people vulnerable to allergens.

Also ranking lower down the list is Wales. Certain tree and grass species known for their high pollen producer rates may be less prevalent in Wales compared to other parts of the U.K., which creates a partially better environment for allergy sufferers.

Northeast England is also one of the best choices for allergy sufferers. This region’s industrial centres and activity can lead to elevated pollen levels, but its weather conditions make for wet winters and relatively cool summers, which help in reducing pollen levels.

Also on the lower end of the scale are Northern Ireland’s coastal regions. These areas benefit from the sea, as coastal breezes can help disperse pollen and reduce pollen concentrations in coastal areas, contributing to lower pollen levels compared to inland regions.

In terms of pollen sources, birch trees produce the most pollen in the region and residents should start getting prepared, as high pollen levels will continue from early April until May 8th.

Cormac Folan, founder of Two Wombats commented explains to Digital Journal: “As climate change keeps worsening we have been experiencing milder winters and drier summers, these factors make for a much more favourable environment for plants to produce pollen.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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