Urea fertilisers consultation - have your say now

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Updated 12 Jan 2021

The government has launched a consultation on reducing ammonia emissions from urea fertilisers. This is a really important consultation that all members are urged to respond to as it will impact the way we farm.

It closes on 26 January 2021, so time is running out.

Three policy options are set out in the consultation for reducing ammonia emissions by regulating the use or sale of solid urea – liquid urea would be excluded from any new rules.

The three options being consulted on are:

  • A ban on solid urea fertilisers
  • A requirement to stabilise solid urea fertilisers with the addition of a urease inhibitor
  • A requirement to restrict the spreading of solid urea fertilisers, allowable only from 15 January to 31 March

Save the date

Member webinar - 19 January at 11am

Hosted by NFU Vice-President Tom Bradshaw with special advisers Ian Ludgate, Chloe Lockhart and Diane Mitchell

Joining instructions – no need to register, just click on the link to join the meeting

Click here to join the meeting (if joining on your computer or mobile app)

Or call in (audio only) – +44 20 3443 9579

Phone Conference ID: 691 035 868# (enter when prompted)

This is your chance to have your say

There are two ways to take part:

Option 1: Go directly to the Reducing ammonia emissions from urea fertilisers consultation webpage, where you are invited to complete an online survey in order to respond.

This is a detailed survey so for NFU members we've produced a briefing document (PDF) which will help you form a response to the Defra consultation on urea fertilisers.

Option 2: Submit a response by email: YW1tb25pYUBkZWZyYS5nb3YudWs=.

Key points to address in your response

Based on NFU work to date, including conversations with industry partners and Defra itself, we advise members to cover the following key points in any response to the consultation:

  • Members are encouraged to clearly set out their reasons for using solid urea as part of an integrated and balanced approach towards manufactured and organic (if used) fertilisers. It would be helpful for members to cover the economic, agronomic, environmental and safety benefits of solid urea in doing so.
  • The NFU has high ambitions around productivity and reaching net zero by 2040 and is asking government to support these without resorting to removing valued products like solid urea from the market. We urge members to make this argument in their responses and, where possible, expand on how they are working towards these ambitions on their farms.
  • We urge members to set out that they recognise, despite significant reductions in recent decades, agriculture still accounts for 87% of ammonia emissions in the UK, and the industry must do more, across different sectors, to reduce that figure even further.
  • However, we do ask members to firmly oppose ‘option 1’ put forward in the consultation, which is a ban on the use or sale of solid urea and the ‘preferred approach’ for Defra. Members are asked to explain exactly what impacts this option would have on their businesses and, where possible, illustrate these impacts with facts and figures.
  • We ask members to express support for any alternative, industry-led option that is proposed by the NFU and other industry bodies in response to the consultation. While we are still working on the detail of this option, it would certainly be favourable to those options in the consultation and member support from the outset is crucial.
  • While members may wish to express support for either ‘option 2’ (mandatory inhibitors) or ‘option 3’ (a restricted period), we ask them to do so on the condition that no alternative, industry-led option is forthcoming.

There is more detailed information on how to respond in the Key principles for responding to the Defra consultation on urea fertilisers document (PDF).  

NFU combinable crops board chair Matt Culley (pictured above) said:

“Farmers have made great strides in reducing key agricultural emissions over recent decades through more efficient targeting of fertiliser applied to farmland and held in the soil.
“Urea is the most commonly used form of nitrogen fertiliser in the world and an important tool for our farmers in helping produce the nation’s food. It offers several advantages when used alongside ammonium nitrate and is safer to handle, as well as helping to maintain a competitive fertiliser market in the UK.
“British farming is committed to playing its part in tackling climate change and has a goal to reach net zero by 2040. The NFU is asking government to support that ambition without resorting to removing a valued product like urea from the market.”

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  • Posted by: Latham LtdPosted on: 07/11/2020 11:12:25

    Comment: I buy 84 tonnes of Urea for spreading up to the end 0f April depending on soil and air temperatures and moisture to break down the prill.
    Problem 1 is I buy early the June /July to get a potential £40-50/tonne discount. It also helps with haulage logistics I would need to store 115tonnes of A/N in a shed on the edge of a village. Should we be subjecting anyone to that risk after the blast in Beirut?
    Problem 2 is that ammonia emission's cannot be taken in isolation. Ammonium nitrate is a much greater risk in early spring as a polluter of water courses.
    problem 3 Ammonium nitrate is 10% more expensive and that will increase without the threat of large imports of urea.
    Problem 4, UK agriculture will again be disadvantaged in production costs. Is the world a better place by the Urea we do not buy being applied in countries without the attention to detail of uk farmers. I believe not unless imports are not allowed from elsewhere in the world where Urea is used

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