£3 million scheme to tackle ammonia emissions

A government-backed partnership has announced the launch of a £3 million programme to reduce ammonia emissions from agriculture today (18 September).

The partnership between Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England – the Catchment Sensitive Farming partnership – will support farmers to take action to reduce harmful ammonia emissions, the government says.

Ammonia from the spreading of fertilisers is among the pollutants targeted under the Clean Air Strategy

According to official figures, farming is responsible for around 88% of all UK emissions of ammonia gas which can travel long distances, is damaging to the environment and combine with other pollutants to form particulates, which are harmful to human health.

Latest data suggests that emissions of ammonia increased in 2016 mainly due to the manure management of larger dairy herds and from spreading of fertilisers (see airqualitynews.com story).

Funding

The money announced today will fund a team of specialists who will work with farmers and landowners to implement the measures to reduce their ammonia set out in the Code of Good Agricultural Practice (COGAP) for Reducing Ammonia Emissions announced this summer (see airqualitynews.com story).

The team will provide training events, tailored advice, individual farm visits and support with grant applications, all funded by the programme.

Bob Middleton, Programme Manager for Catchment Sensitive Farming, said: “As custodians of the land, farmers have an important role to play in protecting the environment. But reducing ammonia emissions can also bring real business benefits.

“The UK loses £138m of nitrogen per year from ammonia emissions, so by taking action to reduce them, farmers can get more value from their manure and fertiliser and save money.”

Farming Minister George Eustice said: “There is growing evidence that ammonia emissions can have significant impacts to parts of our environment so we want to help farmers play their part in reducing them.

“The specialist team of advisers leading this project can advise farmers on steps they can take, such as improved slurry handling facilities, and grants are available where investment is required.”