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Ireland Non-Compliant In 2022 With EU Emissions For Ammonia.

Ammonia emissions down 1% in 2022, however further reductions needed to protect health and the environment.

  • Ireland’s ammonia emissions decreased by 1% in 2022. Despite this, Ireland remains non-compliant in 2022 with our EU Emissions Reduction commitment for ammonia.
  • The decrease in ammonia emissions reflects lower pig and poultry numbers, an increase in low emission slurry spreading and use of inhibited urea fertiliser on farms.
  • Compliance with the EU Emissions Reduction commitment for ammonia is only possible with full implementation of all Government policies and measures.
  • In contrast, Ireland is compliant in 2022 with the EU Emissions Reduction commitment for the following four air pollutants: non-methane volatile organic compounds, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter. Reductions in 2022 were driven by less fossil fuel use in power generation and heating in homes and businesses.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), yesterday, published its 2022 assessment of five key air pollutants which impact air quality, health and the environment. The pollutants are:

  1. ammonia.
  2. non-methane volatile organic compounds.
  3. sulphur dioxide.
  4. nitrogen oxides.
  5. fine particulate matter.

Agriculture accounts for over 99% of ammonia emissions in Ireland.
A decrease of I% in ammonia emissions was driven by:

  1. lower pig and poultry populations (down 5.9% and 2% respectively)
  2. increased use of low emission slurry spreading (59% of all cattle slurry) and
  3. a 52% increase in inhibited urea fertiliser.

Commenting on the findings Dr Eimear Cotter, Director of the EPA’s Office of Evidence and Assessment said: “High ammonia emissions impacts local air quality and human health and causes significant environmental damage to valuable ecosystems . Ireland’s ammonia emissions have exceeded the EU Emission Reduction commitments in ten of the past 11 years.”

She added. “Encouragingly, good farm practices are beginning to have a positive impact on emissions. For example, the use of low emissions slurry spreading for cattle slurry in 2022 avoided the release of 6,000 tonnes of ammonia to the atmosphere. However, we have much further to go. Faster and sustained implementation of all ammonia reduction measures set out in Government plans and policies are needed if we are to achieve compliance and protect our air quality.”

Ireland is in compliance with EU Emission Reduction commitments for the other air pollutants with decreases recorded for these pollutants in 2022. Sulphur dioxide decreased by 27%; fine particulate matter by 12%; nitrogen oxide by 4% and non-methane volatile organic compounds by 1%.

Commenting on these findings Mr Tomás Murray, Senior Manager said: “This assessment shows positive results in terms of a reduction in emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter in 2022. These reductions are driven by less coal and fuel oil used in power generation and also less fossil fuels used in homes and businesses. Our data are clear: reducing fossil fuel use benefits both our climate and air quality and increasing the pace of this reduction will be better for our health and environment.”

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