Plan to reward farmers for reducing air pollution welcomed

A government plan which clearly sets out the air quality challenges facing farmers and rewards them for tackling air pollution as part of the Clean Air Strategy has been welcomed by the CLA.

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, welcomed the support to help mitigate the impact of air pollution but warned that farms could lose out if tougher regulation is introduced.

Chief Land Use Policy Adviser Susan Twining said: “It is clear that the agricultural industry must play a major role in reducing ammonia emissions and delivering improved air quality.

“Farmers and land managers are already taking measures, but with this government commitment to fund infrastructure and equipment and through the Government’s Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), they can make an even greater contribution.

“Funding for new technology and research will pave the way for more sustainable production systems and the advice offered by the Government in line with the rewards through ELMS will help farmers adapt and invest in the changes needed.

“However, while the extra funding is welcome, it is vital to ensure that any future regulation will enable farm businesses to remain economically viable, and we will work with government to ensure that the recommendation and timescales are acceptable.”

The strategy also includes plans to introduce new legislation prohibiting the sale of the most polluting fuels used as a heat source such as coal and wood on open fires and stoves. Mrs Twining said any restrictions should be sympathetic to the needs of rural communities where residents and businesses are off-grid and have a limited choice of fuels available.