Ammonia levels has increased by 9 per cent since 2010. Photo: / Stephen 10 on 12 CC BY-NC-ND

Concern over ammmonia in Northern Ireland

Ammonia has received some newly awakened attention in Northern Ireland, after a report “Making Ammonia Visible” was published in December by a working group commissioned by Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture. Ammonia emissions peaked 20 years ago, and reached their lowest levels in 2010, but since then they have increased by 9 per cent.

The report recommendations include well-known and not very far reaching measures such as a proposal to ban splashplate slurry spreading by 2025 and banning the sale of new splashplate spreaders by 2020; planting forest around livestock units; maintaining a cleaner farmyard; extending the grazing season; covering slurry lagoons; and applying slurry earlier in the season.

This new focus on ammonia has also stalled the approval of planning applications for new agricultural projects, framed in the media as the “ammonia deadlock”. This is due to their impact on ammonia emissions being examined more carefully now.

Because of the increased concern over ammonia emissions Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has commissioned a new scientific research programme. It will provide information on how best to address ammonia emissions – including the gathering of data from 20–30 new air quality monitoring sites.

The report “Making ammonia visible”
Agriland, 8 May 2018



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