Much of the focus on measuring heavy metals in the ambient\ud atmosphere has been to establish monitoring sites at locations close to local sources of heavy metals in industrial and urban areas. However there is also a specific legislative requirement to monitor heavy metals in rural areas where concentrations are considerably lower. The Rural Heavy Metals Monitoring and Deposition Network determines the concentrations of heavy metals in samples of ambient air and rainwater collected at remote rural sites across the UK, which are not unduly influenced by local sources of anthropogenic emissions. This article describes the operation of this monitoring network and how the data are used to determine background levels of heavy metals in the UK (and thereby demonstrate compliance of the UK with the relevant EU legislation for rural areas), and in the quantification of heavy metal deposition from the atmosphere
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