The Clean Air Strategy

The Clean Air Strategy

Yesterday the Government released their new Clean Air Strategy. The Government’s plan for tackling air pollution and the resulting negative impacts on public health fails to do enough to tackle the serious ammonia emissions from farming. If the UK is to improve its air quality, it is critical that we address all the causes of air pollution.

While UK emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by about 70% due to measures to control air pollution in the last two decades, there have only been small decreases in ammonia emissions.

In the UK, farming, specifically farm animals and manufactured fertilisers, accounts for about 82% of all ammonia emissions, which can be very harmful to the lungs, particularly for those already vulnerable such as young children.

The emissions are most commonly associated with intensive livestock production methods since emission rates increase at higher stocking densities. 

In order to address air pollution, the Government needs to support and promote a wider shift towards more extensive farming systems, such as grass-based systems and organic, that have higher animal welfare standards and lower stocking-densities.

The Government must introduce new policies specifically to support the shift away from intensive livestock production methods that generate high levels of waste and reduce the use of artificial nitrogen-based fertiliser.  The Government must ensure that the forthcoming Agriculture Bill and the new post-Brexit farm policy will better protect our environment for future generations.