Farmers from the UK and across Europe are using a range of innovative voluntary measures to improve the quality of the air we breathe, the UK National Farmers Union (NFU) has told the EU’s Green Week conference.
Green Week (June 4-7), organised by the European Commission, is the biggest annual conference on European environment policy and has chosen air quality as this year’s theme.
As the Commission continues to seek new ways to improve air quality, NFU chief environment adviser Diane Mitchell said UK farmers are helping to tackle emissions such as ammonia.
“There have been some encouraging emission reductions in the UK and farmers must be recognised for this,” said Dr Mitchell. “Ammonia levels have dropped by 22 per cent from 1990 levels. But we recognise that more could be done. Through industry-led work, such as our Tried & Tested nutrient management initiatives, now into its fifth year, we hope to continue our progress. Tried & Tested is a joint industry initiative to manage nutrients more efficiently to save money and reduce environmental risks.”
Dr Mitchell, who was also speaking on behalf of the European farmers’ organisation Copa, added: “I am really encouraged when talking to my European counterparts that farmers across Europe are taking measures to mitigate ammonia emissions.”
She concluded: “My message to the Commission and EU policy makers today is to work with us and to work with the industry to support our progress throughout Europe. The biggest challenge over the next few years will be to find ways in which farming can continue to produce high quality food and protect the environment - we need to do both. Agriculture is willing to take on the responsibility for improvements but we also need a supportive mix of R&D, promotion and development of new technologies and advice.”