The Government has set out plans to clamp down on ammonia emissions from farming as part of its new Clean Air Strategy.
A statement from Defra blamed the industry for 88 per cent of all ammonia emissions and said farmers would be required to invest in infrastructure and equipment to bring the figure down, supported by a new system of public money for public goods.
The announcement builds on proposals in the 25-Year Environment Plan to cut pollution from farming by limiting use of manures, slurries and chemicals to ‘economically efficient’ levels.
CLA president Tim Breitmeyer said: “Farmers and landowners can make a significant contribution to improving air quality as technology and research allows for more sustainable production systems. We welcome the opportunity to shape and deliver on this strategy.
“We will consider carefully the proposals that require farmers to invest in any system or new infrastructure and equipment that helps deliver sustained improvements.
“It is important that any scheme put in place provides genuine incentives that support farming businesses to make these changes.
“This means a system which provides flexibility and easy engagement for applicants alongside clear obligations for delivery.”
In 2015, then-NFU president Meurig Raymond said meeting a European Commission target to reduce ammonia emissions by 21 per cent by 2030 would be ‘very challenging’ for the UK.
Now, the Government’s new Clean Air Strategy specifically promises to go ‘further and faster than the EU’ in reducing human exposure to particulate matter pollution.
But Vicki Hird, farming campaign coordinator at Sustain, welcomed the announcement, saying tackling ammonia emissions from agriculture was ‘long overdue’ move.
“This should be part of a concerted strategy to deliver public health goals from farming - neglected for far too long - so we can support clean air and water but also support healthier diets”, she added.