Britain could reach its highest levels of UV radiation due to a lack of planes, coupled with clear blue skies and sweltering temperatures – a potent combination that increases the risk of skin cancer.
Ultra-violet rays, which can also cause sunburn and cataracts, are expected to reach level 9 across parts of Devon and Cornwall on what is set to be the hottest day of the year in the UK so far.
The mercury hit a sweltering 90.5F (32.5C) on Wednesday, while temperatures today could climb even further in the Midlands and Wales. West London is forecast to see temperatures peak between 32C (89.6F) and 33C (91.4F), while parts of Wales could see the mercury rise to 34C (93.2F).
The Met Office‘s UV index does not often exceed 8 in the UK, while level 10 is common in Mediterranean countries, and 11 is considered extreme.
Although air pollution has visibly dropped off due to flights being cancelled during the coronavirus lockdown, the dangers posed by high UV levels are substantial.
Plane contrails are a contributing factor to high UV levels as they create clouds which reflect harmful UV rays away from Earth