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Russian fires affecting UK air quality  Seasonal agricultural fires across Russia are thought to be responsible for an increase in the levels of particles (PM10) which have been recorded at sites in Scotland and the North of England.Standard monitoring, carried out for the Government by AEA Technology, has revealed concentrations high enough to breach the air quality standards in some locations. The fires, which have been burning for several days, are likely to be a result of seasonal agricultural burning which takes place every year. This impact on UK air quality is unusual, and may have been exacerbated by uncontrolled spread of the fires due to dry conditions, leading to a rapid expansion of the burning area, and by prevailing weather. Information from the Met Office suggests that the easterly air mass flows which have brought the particles to the UK are likely to remain over the next few days but that this will change by Saturday. Until then the levels of PM10 may depend on how quickly the fires are brought under control. The impacts of emissions from one country on another are addressed through the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) by the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution. The Government is working with the UNECE towards future agreements that may more effectively address incidents of this type. Source DEFRA: http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2006/060510c.htm
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