Government seeks views on ways to reduce ammonia emissions

04 November 2020 | Muriel Cozier

Consultation presents three cost effective options.

The UK government has launched a consultation seeking views on reducing emissions of ammonia from solid urea fertilisers used for growing plants and crops.

Ammonia emissions have been found to be harmful to natural habitats as well as human health, and 87% of the UK’s ammonia emissions are attributed to farming. The government has committed to reducing emissions from ammonia by 16%, compared with 2005 levels, by 2030.

The consultation will focus on what government says are ‘three cost effective options.’ These are: A total ban on solid urea fertilisers, a requirement to stabilise solid urea fertilisers with the addition of urease inhibitor or a requirement to restrict the spreading of solid urea fertilisers so they can only be used from 15 January to 31 March.

While each of the options will significantly reduce ammonia emissions, a ban on solid urea fertilisers would achieve a 31% reduction by 2030.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said; ‘Ammonia emissions from agriculture are causing harm to sensitive and important habitats…impacting biodiversity. They are also harmful to human health and we welcome views on how we can address their use in agriculture so that we can all breath cleaner air.’ Eustice added that the government was committed to working with farmers so that any changes were realistic and achievable.

Plans to reduce ammonia emissions are part of the UK government’s Clean Air Strategy. This sets out legislation and support that will be needed so the UK can meet its targets on air quality.

The consultation is now open and closes on 26 January 2021. Visit DEFRA's website to make a submission.

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