Hay Fever Hell: The UK holiday spots allergy sufferers should avoid

April 5, 2021

A leading holiday accommodation marketplace has analysed national pollution and pollen data across the UK, to reveal the best and worst spots for allergy sufferers to visit this year.Immingham, North East Lincolnshire takes the top spot as the worst place to visit, followed by Salt End, East Riding of Yorkshire, and Little Barford, Bedfordshire respectively. Colnbrook in Berkshire has been named the best place for allergy sufferers to holiday, recording the lowest recorded levels across four pollutants, including carbon monoxide and Sulphur Dioxide, as well as tree and grass pollen.

A leading holiday accommodation marketplace has analysed national government pollution and pollen data to calculate which areas in the UK will offer holiday goers the cleanest air in the country this year.

The research involved ranking 53,000 locations on pollution levels in the UK across the four most common air pollutants, Carbon Monoxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen Oxide and PM 2.5, as well as tree and grass pollen, two of the most common hay fever allergies in the UK. The data was then cross referenced with regional tree and grass pollen count data, to provide a comprehensive clean air index.

The five UK staycation spots with the poorest air quality are:

  1. Immingham, North East Lincolnshire
  2. Salt End, East Riding of Yorkshire
  3. Little Barford, Bedfordshire
  4. West Burton, Nottinghamshire
  5. Spalding, Lincolnshire

To see an interactive map, along with the full 10 best and worst areas in the UK for air quality visit Last Minute Cottages.

In contrast, Colnbrook in Berkshire has the cleanest air in the country, followed by Peterlee on the North-East coast and Derbyshire market town, Ashbourne. On average, Colnbrook’s emission level is 4-17 tonnes and it experiences low grass pollen and medium tree pollen levels every year. On the other end of the spectrum, Immingham in North East Lincolnshire recorded an emission level of 919,510 tonnes, due to the local power station, which will contribute to high levels of pollution in the surrounding air.

Air quality can have a substantial impact on a person’s health and wellbeing. It’s estimated that one in four people in the UK has hay fever, which equates to roughly 16 million people. These people are four times more likely to suffer with other conditions driven by allergy, such as asthma, eczema and food allergy. Asthma affects 1 in 12 adults and 1 in 11 children currently in the UK, with research showing that high levels of pollution can trigger and worsen asthma.

Coincidentally hay fever season correlates with summer holidays, so allergies can often be a nuisance for Brits when they’re on vacation. The pollen season separates into three key periods: tree pollen (late March to mid-May), grass pollen (mid-May to July) and weed pollen (end of June to September). Travel experts from Last Minute Cottages advise holidaymakers who suffer with an underlying respiratory condition, like hay fever or asthma, to research an area before booking it to ensure the local environment is suitable for them.

Matt Fox, CEO and co-founder of Last Minute Cottages, said,

“After the year we’ve had, it wouldn’t surprise me if the public were more aware and conscious of how the external environment impacts their health. Air quality plays a big part in how we breathe and feel, and lots of people, especially city dwellers, love escaping to the country or coast to breathe that fresh air.

“We thought we’d investigate this common trend further, and found that government data allowed us to really interrogate which locations have the cleanest air. Some may be surprised that a location so close to our capital has the best air quality, both in terms of pollution and pollen, but it was a close call between all of the top ten. Either way I hope our research proves invaluable to holidaymakers wanting to go somewhere that will benefit their lungs as much as their mind!”