'Science of ammonia' webinars from 21 September: What is its impact on the NI environment?

  • The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced three online seminars with leading experts, to outline the science behind ammonia and help inform future policy.

    Ammonia is one of the main sources of nitrogen pollution, alongside nitrogen oxides and can contribute to acidification of land and water when it reacts with air humidity. It has also been known to cause respiratory disorders.

    The lunchtime seminars will take place during the week beginning 21 September and are open to the public.

    Speakers include leading experts on ammonia from across the UK from organisations such as the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Rothamsted Research.  The seminars will take place on:

    • Monday 21 September, 12pm to 1pm (register via this link)
    • Wednesday 23 September, 12pm to 1pm (register via this link)
    • Friday 25 September, 12pm to 1:30pm (register via this link)

    Topics addressed in these webinars will include;

    • The ecological impact of ammonia emissions on habitats
    • The inclusion of Northern Ireland specific data in the ammonia inventory
    • The potential for ammonia reduction in Northern Ireland and how this can be achieved most cost-effectively
    • Case studies on ammonia reduction at individual farm level
    • Ammonia monitoring at region, farm and habitat level in Northern Ireland

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    A DAERA spokesman said: “Ammonia is not a unique challenge to Northern Ireland or even the UK – countries across the world are working to find solutions to what is a complex issue with no quick fix.

    “However, there is a lot we can do together in Northern Ireland, to reduce our emissions whilst at the same time help our agriculture sector to become more efficient and sustainable in the longer term.

    “So far, there has been excellent work across all sectors to move to more efficient and sustainable technologies and an understanding of the need to capture that good work and build on it further and at pace.

    “DAERA is committed to working with stakeholders to develop solutions which are ambitious, proportionate and practical. While progress has been made in areas such as the uptake of low emission slurry spreading, it is important that the right mix of measures is delivered.

    "This will ensure that sufficiently ambitious levels of emission reduction are achieved to relieve pressure on habitats and improve public health, while supporting ‘Green Growth’ and the sustainable development of a thriving agriculture sector.”

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    Delivering on this challenge requires a high quality evidence base, which is why DAERA has said it commissioned a major research programme on ammonia, led by the Agri Food Biosciences Institute, in collaboration with Rothamsted Research and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

    The emerging conclusions from this research programme will be presented at these webinars this month and will inform the proposals within DAERA’s draft ammonia strategy. This strategy will be consulted upon later this year.

    Source: Written from press release

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