Air quality: DEFRA reports published

13th December 2019

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  • Agriculture ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Air



Since September, Defra has published four major reports on air quality and emissions in the UK. The National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) team, working on behalf of Defra, has produced two reports.

The first is Air Quality Pollutant Inventories for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: 1990-2017, which reports summary data and trends in emissions for oxides of nitrogen, sulphur dioxide, ammonia, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, heavy metals, polyaromatic hydrocarbons and dioxins. Typically, the data shows continuing falls in emissions, apart from ammonia, where the reported emissions continue to rise.

It also published a report on mapping techniques for air pollution, UK Emission Mapping Methodology 2017. This report describes the emissions of pollutants and their sources, providing a spatial coverage.

The third report, Ammonia Futures: Understanding implications for habitats and requirements for uptake of mitigation measures: Stakeholder feasibility workshops and supporting review, was produced by Defra contractor Ricardo Energy and Environment. It provides an insight into the measures and techniques available to the agricultural sector, and how these could reduce emissions of ammonia in order to meet the targets for emission reductions required by the government's Clean Air Strategy 2019. All three reports are available at

Lastly, Defra has published a report for ambient air quality in the UK for 2018 using measurements from 270 sites in rural, semi-urban and urban roadside locations, for the pollutants described in the pollutant inventories by NAEI. The results for 2018 reflect the trends in emissions and is available at

Rick Gould, MIEMA CEnv is technical advisor at the Environmental Agency

Image credit: iStock


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