25 October 2001
Tax plan to crack down on ammonia

By Adrienne Francis

AMMONIA emissions from farms could be brought under control by a new tax on manure.

Research shows ammonia has caused more acid rain than previously thought, threatening wildlife and plant life, reports The Daily Telegraph.

A report to be published next month shows livestock farming produces 85% of all ammonia emissions, with the majority coming from cows, it adds.

Rural Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett is “seeking partnership” with the agricultural industry and will publish a consultation paper next year.

“Ammonia, which arises from the livestock farming, is the one which to date we have done least to tackle,” she said.

“As we reduce other pollutants, it is becoming the main contributor to acidification and eutrophication.”

Ministers were seeking to encourage organic farming as a way of cutting down agricultural pollution, Mrs Beckett claimed.

The government has introduced pollution surveillance on farms following a European directive on pollution prevention and control.

The Times reports that farmers may be forced to dig manure into soil or pay for chemical treatments to manure heaps in the future.

The Financial Times reports that Mrs Beckett also confirmed the government had decided to ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change.

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