The government is consulting on an update to the NAPCP (National Air Pollution Control Programme).
The NAPCP sets out potential policies and measures to reduce emissions of five key air pollutants, including ammonia.
Agriculture is said to account for the vast majority of ammonia emissions – around 87% in 2020 – and is, therefore, expected to make the greatest reductions.
In 2019, the Clean Air Strategy proposed a range of measures to reduce ammonia emissions from agriculture, including regulating urea fertilisers and permitting dairy and intensive beef farms.
Now, through the updated NAPCP, Defra is putting forward a range of additional steps that could be taken to reduce emissions further in each nation.
In England, a number of specific measures are proposed:
- Low protein livestock diet (dairy and pig)
- Washing dairy collection yards
- Drying poultry litter
- Manure sheeting covers
- Poultry/pig acid scrubber
- Cattle housing grooved floor system
- Extending grazing period (dairy and beef)
- Improved genetics (dairy, beef, pig and poultry)
- Tree shelter belts around pig, poultry and dairy housing
In Wales, it is hoped that financial support through policies such as the Sustainable Farming Scheme will contribute to reducing emissions from 2025, incentivising specific measures like strategic tree planting.
Ammonia emissions are a problem because the gas causes ecological damage when deposited to the ground and contributes to human health issues when converted into particulate matter – though this contribution is thought to be small.
The government has challenging, legally binding targets for reducing ammonia emissions. It needs to have cut emissions by 8% by 2020 and 16% by 2030, both against a 2005 baseline. The 2020 target has, provisionally, been missed – albeit only slightly – and Defra now looks to be stepping up its efforts.
While the NAPCP will not set these measures in stone – and there would be further consultation on any taken forward – we will be submitting a full and robust response to the consultation. We are also encouraging members to do the same.
Have your say
Respond directly to Defra: You can find out more and have your say in an online survey at the GOV.UK website: Consultation on the draft National Air Pollution Control Programme
The consultation will close on 4 September 2022.
Contribute to the NFU response: If you would like to contribute to the NFU's official response to the consultation, please email your views to [email protected] by 26 August 2022.