The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a new £3 million programme to reduce ammonia emissions from agriculture in England.
The Catchment Sensitive Farming partnership between Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England will support farmers to take action to reduce harmful ammonia emissions.
The CLA represents 30,000 landowners, farmers and rural businesses.
CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said:
“Farmers and landowners play a unique and crucial role in protecting and enhancing the environment, both through expert management of the land and also by reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. The industry is working hard to reduce ammonia emissions and we welcome the support this new programme will provide to ensure the environmental impact is reduced while not compromising productive output.
“The post-Brexit payment for public goods approach must create a workable framework for food production to go hand in hand with environmental enhancement. The CLA’s proposed Land Management Contract system sets out how the payment for public goods approach can enable landowners and farmers to deliver a greater range of benefits to society and to the environment, including air quality improvement.”
Ammonia gas can travel lengthy distances, be damaging to the environment, and combine with other pollutants to form particulates, which can be harmful to human health.
The money will fund a team of specialists who will work with farmers and landowners to implement the measures to reduce their ammonia set out in the new Code of Good Agricultural Practice (COGAP) for Reducing Ammonia Emissions.
The team will provide training events, tailored advice, individual farm visits and support with grant applications.
Farming Minister George Eustice said:
“There is growing evidence that ammonia emissions can have significant impacts to parts of our environment so we want to help farmers play their part in reducing them.
“The specialist team of advisers leading this project can advise farmers on steps they can take, such as improved slurry handling facilities, and grants are available where investment is required.”
The announcement comes less than a week after the unveiling of the government’s Agriculture Bill. To replace the Common Agricultural Policy, a new system will reward farmers for “public goods”, which includes taking action to improve air and water quality and soil health.