Ammonia damage costs. Final report

Shialis, Tassos; Reis, Stefan; Searl, Alison. 2007 Ammonia damage costs. Final report. London, Entec UK Ltd., 26pp.

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Ammonia (NH3) emissions, from agricultural and non-agricultural sources, have been associated with mainly two environment impacts - acidification and nutrient enrichment. As a source of nitrogen, ammonia can increase soil fertility and cause damage to ecosystems that exist because of naturally low levels of soil nitrogen. It can also contribute to the eutrophication of water bodies. Deposition of acidifying pollutants (including NOx and NH3) has a range of detrimental effects including: • Increased acidity of freshwaters which has led to the loss of fish and other organisms from many rivers and lakes; • Increased acidity of soils which alters soil chemistry and can leave forests and other terrestrial ecosystems vulnerable to drought, disease and insect attack; • Acidic groundwater which damage water supply infrastructure and increase the levels of harmful metals in drinking water; • Eutrophication (excess nutrient enrichment of natural ecosystems) from deposition of the nitrogen-containing atmospheric pollutants NOx and NH3; and • Ammonia emissions are also associated with secondary particulate formation (ammonium sulphates and ammonium nitrates) and thus have implications for human health and climate change. A new inventory for 2004 for ammonia emissions in the UK has been developed . The major sources for atmospheric ammonia in the UK are agricultural activities (in particular, livestock production) which account for over 85% of the total , followed by biomass burning (including forest fires) and to a lesser extent fossil fuel combustion. Objectives of the study The main aim of this study is to provide estimates of the external environmental and human health damage costs attributed to ammonia emissions from agricultural and non-agricultural sources. These estimates will feed into: • cost-benefit analysis of policies aimed at reducing ammonia emissions (a Defra funded project managed by IGER is currently developing an ammonia strategy), and; • the Environmental accounts for agriculture analysis being conducted by Defra (and managed by Jacobs Babtie). The study concentrated on environment impacts arising from ammonia emissions in three areas: • ecosystem; • human health, and; • climate change The outputs of this study will be utilised by the abovementioned projects and for this reason the managers of these projects were contacted in the early stages of this study to get their views on how this study can provide useful outputs for their projects. With regards to the Ammonia strategy project it was mentioned that any costs on ammonia emissions would be useful to feed into the cost-benefit analysis that will be undertaken. However the Environmental accounts suggested that more specific outputs would be useful for their analysis e.g. ideally studies that value environmental impacts using a dose response method, primarily from agricultural emissions. Their feedback was taken into consideration and was addressed, where possible, in the outputs of this study.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > BG01 Measuring and modelling trace gas, aerosol and carbon > BG01.1 UK nitrogen and sulphur compounds
CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > BG02 Recovery from acidification and eutrophication > BG02.2 Critical Loads
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Billett (to November 2013)
Additional Pages: 3 appendices
Funders/Sponsors: DEFRA
Additional Keywords: ammonia, damage costs, health, ecosystems
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Ecology and Environment
Atmospheric Sciences
Related URLs:
Date made live: 10 Jul 2008 08:34 +0 (UTC)

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