ARCHIVE: Farming: Air quality
Ammonia is an air pollutant largely produced by livestock farming that can damage sensitive habitats. Ammonia is generally less well known than other air pollutants, such as those from industry and traffic.
Defra has published a booklet, Ammonia in the UK, to summarise the long-term research programme on ammonia, highlighting why ammonia is a cause for concern and what research suggests could be done to tackle the problems.
- Ammonia in the UK (PDF 1.0 MB)
- Ammonia in the UK: the highlights (summary booklet) (PDF 170 KB)
Further information is available on our Help page about downloading or reading Adobe Acrobat documents.
Printed copies of the booklet Ammonia in the UK are available, free of charge, from:
Science Policy Unit
Defra AEQ Division
Area 3C Ergon House
c/o Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London, SW1P 3JR
Tel: 020 7238 1714
Fax: 020 7238 1657
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Agriculture and forestry are the second largest source of UK greenhouse gases, accounting for 7 per cent of the country’s emissions.
Of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide is less of an issue for agriculture, contributing just 1% of the country’s total emissions. However, nitrous oxide and methane are significant, contributing 66 per cent and 46 per cent of the country’s emissions respectively.
The main sources of nitrous oxide from agriculture are inorganic nitrogen fertilisers and the storage of manures.
The following measures can be taken to reduce nitrous oxide emissions:
- regular fertiliser spreader testing to ensure accuracy of application
- operator registration and training
- crop nutrient management planning
- soil analysis to match application of fertiliser to need
- use of technology to target nutrient use, and cut machinery use
- integrate manures into fertiliser regimes to reduce inorganic fertiliser use
- improve slurry handling
The majority of methane from agriculture results from the normal digestive processes of livestock, the remainder comes from animal waste.
Reductions arise from:
- expected reduction in livestock numbers following CAP reform
- ongoing increases in productivity and fertility
- research into feed additives
- anaerobic digestion of animal manures to create biogas
The Government has published Climate Change: The UK Challenge 2006, which highlights the practical ways in which reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved.
For further information see the advice page on climate change in this section.
Page last modified: 23 April 2008
Page published: 1 July 2006