Whitehall pledges extra help to reduce ammonia from farming

The Government has pledged to help farmers tackle air pollution as the industry works towards dramatically reducing its ammonia emissions.

Farming Minister George Eustice said farmers have an important role to play in reducing the UK's ammonia emissions. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Agriculture produces 88 per cent of the UK’s ammonia gas emissions which can drift long distances and combine with other pollutants to form particulate matter which is harmful to human health.

Farms will be financially rewarded for reducing ammonia emissions under new post-Brexit policy and the Government’s new Clean Air Strategy, announced today, includes a further commitment to support farmers’ investment in emission-tackling infrastructure and equipment.

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The Government also pledged to work with the industry to encourage low-emission, holistic farming techniques.

Farming Minister, George Eustice said: “Ammonia emissions can have a significant impact on the environment and on our health, and as custodians of the land, farmers have an important role to play in reducing them.

“Our future agriculture policy will involve financial rewards and incentives to help farmers reduce their ammonia emissions.”

Ammonia is released when slurries, manures and nitrogen fertilisers comes into contact with air. The gas can also damage the environment through soil acidification and locking excessive nitrogen in habitats, reducing biodiversity.

Fraser Hugill, a farmer and environmental consultant near Helmsley, has helped to run events with the Campaign for the Farmed Environment which have informed farmers about adjusting livestock feed rations and fertiliser product choices to cut ammonia emissions.

Mr Hugill said: “There is a growing awareness across agriculture of the need to tackle ammonia emissions. However, if action is to become widespread, there needs to be clear information on how measures to reduce emissions can benefit farm businesses in ways that are practical and financially realistic to implement.”