Farms: Ammonia

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 19th November 2018.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's strategy is for cutting the amount of ammonia from farms.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government has a statutory commitment to reduce ammonia emissions from 2005 levels by 8% by 2020 and by 16% by 2030. Farming accounts for 88% of UK emissions of ammonia.

The Government’s consultation on a Clean Air Strategy was published on 22 May. The Strategy proposed that the Government would require and support farmers to make investments in farm infrastructure and equipment that will reduce emissions.

We sought views on 3 possible approaches to regulation to reduce ammonia emissions. Proposals included regulations to reduce emissions from storage and spreading of slurry and manure and from use of urea-based fertilisers. We are considering the responses to the consultation, and the final Strategy will be published by the end of this year.

The Government is providing technical and financial support for farmers to invest in equipment to reduce ammonia emissions. Grants are currently available through the Countryside Productivity Scheme to help farmers purchase manure management equipment including low-emission spreaders and through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme for slurry tank and lagoon covers for farmers in priority water catchments.

Defra worked with farming industry organisations to develop a voluntary Code of good agricultural practice for reducing ammonia emissions which was published earlier this year. Catchment Sensitive Farming Officers will shortly be trained to deliver on-farm advice on ammonia mitigation methods.

The Government has recently consulted on a new system of financial support for farmers, delivering public money for public goods. This includes improving air quality and reducing ammonia emissions.

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