Page last updated at 10:43 GMT, Monday, 19 April 2010 11:43 UK

Further test flight by scientists monitors volcanic ash

The Dornier 288 research plane
The research team was collecting data on the plume

Scientists from Wiltshire are making another test flight to monitor the levels of ash in the air from the Icelandic volcano.

Experts from Swindon-based Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc) will first fly to the Scottish Borders and Northern Ireland.

They will then fly to the the north east of England before returning to the south of the country.

Their first flight on Thursday recorded "heavy gritty particles" at 8,000ft.

Following that first flight after the ash cloud was spotted, Nerc said the decision to close UK airspace was not an over-reaction.

They had flown over London and tracked the plume's edge near East Anglia.

Flying at just below 10,000ft, research instruments on their Dornier 288 plane identified three distinct layers of volcanic residue.

Heavy, gritty particles seemed to be sitting at around 8,000ft (2,440m), while lower down in the atmosphere there are sulphurous chemicals and finer dust particles.

The data is used by the Met Office to help in forecasts.

A second flight took off from Cranfield airfield in Bedfordshire on Saturday.

A Nerc spokesman said at the time: "On a basis of what we've seen, it's (the ban) the correct decision."

The Civil Aviation Authority has announced that there will be a phased reintroduction of flights in UK airspace from 2200 BST.

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