The draft version of the new strategy, published in August, highlights the levels of air pollution across the country and the main sources of five key pollutants. The pollutants addressed in the new policy are: particulate matter, ammonia (NH3), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs). The strategy takes into account the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for air pollution and sets its goals for reduction in line with WHO recommendations. The findings in this draft strategy have significant implications for British farming and the agricultural industry – the strategy identifies that 88% of all ammonia emissions come from agriculture.
The policy aims to reduce the population’s exposure to damaging pollutants and limit the environmental impacts they have. As the dominant source of ammonia pollution, the agriculture sector will have to implement mitigation strategies quickly if it is to meet the governments aims of reducing total ammonia emissions by 8% by 2020 and 16% by 2030 (against a 2005 baseline).
The livestock sector accounts for around 80% of ammonia losses from agriculture mainly from livestock housing and the storage and application of manures, with the remainder coming from applications of urea-based fertilisers. . The clean air strategy is also targeting emissions of o methane and non-methane volatile organic compounds, which agriculture accounts for 51% and 14% respectively. Before the strategy is finalised Defra have held a consultation to seek industry views on the introduction of mitigation methods to reduce agricultural ammonia emissions. Many of these measures will require investment in farm infrastructure such as covering slurry stores and the use of low emission spreading technologies for slurry applications.
The final strategy is expected to be published in March 2019 in the form of the UK Clean Air Strategy.
To find out more information about what the Clear Air Strategy means for you and the impact this will have on your business, please contact ADAS for advice and support.