The European Commission has published proposals to reduce agricultural ammonia emissions by 21 per cent in the UK.
The plans, issued as part of the European Commission’s Clean Air Policy Programme, outline proposals to revise the National Emissions Ceilings Directive, introducing a new limit or ceiling of ammonia emissions to be met by 2030.
NFU chief environment adviser Dr Diane Mitchell said: “In recent years farmers have demonstrated an awareness of the need to manage and make best use of nutrients and the trends in the uptake of good practice, such as slurry injection techniques and improvements in nitrogen use efficiency. So the trends in ammonia emissions are going in the right direction – but a 21 per cent reduction by 2030 will be very challenging, especially for the livestock sector. We have serious concerns about whether this target is realistic and achievable.”
“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. Despite the Commission’s reassurances, we have concerns about whether these proposals can be implemented in a cost-effective way.”
Also under closer scrutiny by the Commission are small-medium sized combustion plants with a total rated thermal capacity of between 1- 50 megawatts. Initial work by the NFU has established that any proposals to address these plants may affect some in the glasshouse sector growing protected edibles and possibly also farmers with grain drying plants.
The NFU will be engage with the Brussels decision-making processes to ensure a satisfactory outcome for British farmers and growers.
The EU Clean Air Policy Programme is available to view here.