Support scheme to reduce agricultural air pollution begins
Defra’s support scheme to reduce the amount of ammonia produced by farming launched today, with expert technical advice and funding being made available.
Defra announced the scheme, backed with £3 million, to help farmers reduce ammonia emissions from farmland. Agriculture is responsible for 88 per cent of all UK emissions of ammonia gas – and as this gas can travel long distances, it can be very harmful to the environment.
The scheme has officially been launched today (18th September 2018), with the Catchment Sensitive Farming partnership between Defra, Natural England and the Environment Agency looks to support farmers in taking action to reduce the harmful emissions.
Along with damaging the environment, the emissions can combine with other pollutants and form particulates – small particles that are harmful to human health.
The £3 million scheme will fund a team of specialists who will work with land owners and farmers to implement measures to reduce ammonia emissions – as set out in the Code of Good Agricultural Practice (COGAP) for Reducing Ammonia Emissions.
Tailored advice, training events, individual farm visits and support from grant aplications will all be funded by the scheme.
The COGAP sets out advice to farmers about storing organic manures, spreading organic manures and manufactured fertilisers, diets for livestock and methods of housing the animals. The Code outlines financial support that farmers may be eligible for, as well as technical suport that may be necessary.
The Programme Manager, Catchment Sensitive Farming, Bob Middleton said: “As custodians of the land, farmers have an important role to play in protecting the environment. But reducing ammonia emissions can also bring real business benefits.
The UK loses £138m of nitrogen per year from ammonia emissions, so by taking action to reduce them, farmers can get more value from their manure and fertiliser and save money.”
The new initiative adds to existing advice to improve water quality and prevent flooding. Farm Minister George Eustice said: “There is growing evidence that ammonia emissions can have significant impacts to parts of our environment so we want to help farmers play their part in reducing them.
The specialist team of advisers leading this project can advise farmers on steps they can take, such as improved slurry handling facilities, and grants are available where investment is required.”
Reducing ammonia emissions from farming is an element of the government’s Clean Air Strategy, and comes less than a week after the landmark Agriculture Bill, which sets out proposals to protect the environment.