The government has opened a consultation on the reduction of ammonia emissions from the use of solid urea fertiliser products.

The move follows then Defra secretary Michael Gove’s mid-2018 launch of the Clean Air Strategy within the 25 year Environment Plan. Government has committed to reducing ammonia emissions by 8% of 2005 levels by 2020 and 16% by 2030. It says 87% of the UK’s ammonia emissions emanate from agriculture.

The consultation offers what it terms three cost-effective options to reduce ammonia emissions from urea products – a total ban on solid urea fertilisers; a requirement to stabilise solid urea fertilisers with a urease inhibitor; or restricting the spreading of solid urea fertilisers to a period between January 15th to March 31st.
A total ban is estimated to achieve some 31% of the 2030 ammonia reduction target, with the other options also helping.

“Any changes will need to be made in a way that is realistic and achievable for farmers, but which help us to achieve our ambitious targets for better air quality,” says Defra secretary George Eustice. “We are committed to working with farmers to help them do this.”

The consultation, which can be accessed here, closes on January 26th 2021.