Severe hay fever could hit millions of people this year as a result of the late spring, experts have warned.
The combination of the longer winter and the potential for an early summer will push pollen levels to their highest in 50 years, affecting a large proportion of the population.
Professor Roy Kennedy, one of Britain’s leading hay fever experts, predicted the period to June would see the highest pollen levels for more than five decades.
He said Scotland risked seeing pollen peaks close to the higher levels expected in England. Peak pollen levels normally occur later in summer.
National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit director Professor Kennedy said levels would rocket in the weeks ahead in what threatens to be the most sudden pollen surge since 1962.
England is expected to fare worst but Scotland will also see a pollen ‘burst’. Experts said the cold March delayed the start of the pollen season by a month, with tree pollen levels now set to soar and the expected ‘phenomenon’ of tree pollen ‘colliding’ with grass pollen from late May.