AIR pollution across Oxfordshire was dropping to moderate levels last night after the week’s earlier high warnings.

Yesterday afternoon the monitoring station at St Ebbe’s School, in Whitehouse Road, Oxford, recorded levels of six to seven out of 10 – 10 being the highest – at 2pm. Two hours later it had fallen to 5 – which is moderate.

The measurement is of small particles, like dust, in the air.

Earlier in the week there were warnings over “the perfect storm” of easterly winds bringing in pollutants from Europe, local air pollution and dust from the Sahara Desert.

Between Monday and Wednesday, South Central Ambulance Service saw an increase in calls relating to breathing difficulties of 20 per cent.

Spokesman Matt George said there were 302 compared to 265 on the same three days the previous week.

He said: “Whilst it’s impossible to directly attribute this to the increase in air pollution, it’s advisable patients with existing breathing related conditions take extra precautions.”

Today, Defra is forecasting a return to low pollution levels.