Online seminar series to examine the science behind NI’s ammonia woes

A series of three lunchtime webinars will explore the science behind Northern Ireland’s agricultural woes with ammonia.

Run by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the sessions will include some of the experts helping to inform future policy.

Speakers include experts from organisations such as the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and Rothamsted Research.

The seminars will take place on:

  • Monday, September 21, 12:00pm to 1:00pm;
  • Wednesday, September 23, 12:00pm to 1:00pm;
  • Friday, September 25, 12:00pm to 1:30pm.

Topics 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 regional, farm and habitat-level in Northern Ireland.

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.”

Research

DAERA has commissioned a major research programme on ammonia, led by AFBI 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.