Volcanic ash cloud – update 7

  07 May 2010

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is continuing to monitor the situation regarding the volcanic ash cloud currently affecting the UK and its possible impact on Scotland's environment.


Within the last week we have received 37 samples from a network of 39 rainfall sites. In total we have now analysed 76 rainfall samples. Nothing of concern has emerged from the preliminary results.

One ad hoc sample was taken in South Harris yesterday and is being shipped to a SEPA laboratory for analysis.


Six dust samplers have been deployed to assess deposition rates. Another four due to be deployed soon giving a network across the country similar to that in place for rainfall. The deposition measurement cannot distinguish between volcanic ash and other forms of dust e.g. particles from industrial processes, domestic heating processes, soil, road transport etc., but these can be assessed visually in the laboratory. The current deposition rates are one third of the rate which in normal SEPA business would cause us to consider further investigation.

Automated samplers, which assess particle concentrations in the atmosphere, are operational in Dalgety Bay, St Boswells and Hunterston. These and other real time devices confirm that levels remain low and below relevant air quality standards.

Eight combined dust and water samples have been analysed for 20 key determinands and have shown no cause for concern.


A total of 30 grass samples have been taken from 10 sites and analysed for fluoride deposits. All were below detection limits.

SEPA is continuing to be involved in multi-agency meetings with the Met Office, Health Protection Scotland and the Food Standards Agency.

Further updates will be published as soon as they become available.