Farmers will be given free advice under a £3m government scheme to help reduce ammonia emissions from agriculture.
Defra says farming is responsible for 88% of all UK ammonia gas emissions, which can combine with other pollutants to form particulates harmful to human health.
Now the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme – a partnership between Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England – will support farmers to take action to reduce these emissions.
A team of specialists will work with farmers to implement measures in a recently launched 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, all funded by the programme.
Programme manager Bob Middleton said: “As custodians of the land, farmers have an important role to play in protecting the environment.”
“But reducing ammonia emissions can also bring real business benefits.
“The UK loses £138m of nitrogen a year from ammonia emissions, so by taking action to reduce them, farmers can get more value from their manure and fertiliser and save money.”
A Defra guidance video sets out simple steps all farmers can take to reduce ammonia emissions, such as changing the way they handle livestock feed, and manure and fertiliser spreading.
Defra 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 guide farmers on steps they can take, such as improved slurry handling facilities, and grants are available where investment is required.”
Defra has published a list of CSF officers to discuss reducing air and water pollution.
Reducing emissions from farming is a key element of the government’s Clean Air Strategy.
The announcement comes less than a week after the introduction of the government’s Agriculture Bill, which sets out ambitious proposals to protect and enhance our environment.
It proposes a new system which will reward farmers for “public goods”, which includes taking action to improve air and water quality and soil health.