Impact of ammonia emissions from agriculture on biodiversity
Sep 17, 2018
Ammonia emissions in the UK have been rising since 2013, with the main source being agriculture. The impacts on biodiversity are significant and together with the costs to human health could be equivalent to over £700m per year in the UK by 2020.
An evidence synthesis
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As levels of other air pollutants have declined, ammonia emissions in the UK have been rising since 2013, with significant implications for ecosystems and human health. The main source of ammonia is agriculture, where it is released from manure and slurry and through the application of manmade fertiliser. The agricultural sector produced 82 per cent of all UK ammonia emissions in 2016. Our review and synthesis of the evidence suggests that the impacts of ammonia on biodiversity can be significant, with certain species and habitats, such as bog and peatland, particularly susceptible. Putting together the costs of this biodiversity loss with the costs to human health and projected emissions, the impact of ammonia emissions in the UK could be equivalent to costs of over £700 million per year by 2020. Many interventions exist to address ammonia emissions from agriculture, though their level of implementation at present is mixed. Policy options to support wider implementation of emission reduction measures are likely to include a mix of regulation, incentives, and education.
Impacts on biodiversity
Methods for reducing ammonia emissions from agriculture
Key informant interview protocol
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