Transport and agriculture ‘pose problems’ for European emissions reduction

The European Environment Agency (EEA) says ammonia emissions from farming continued to rise in 2016

European agriculture and transport emissions continue to pose problems in meeting agreed air pollution limits.

That’s according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA), which shows although emissions of most air pollutants are on a downward trend, ammonia emissions from farming continued to rise in 2016.

EU legislation introduced in 2010 restricted emissions for four key air pollutants – nitrogen dioxide, non-methane volatile organic compounds, sulphur dioxide and ammonia.

Six EU Member States exceeded ceilings for one or more pollutants in 2016 – Austria and Ireland exceeded ceilings for nitrogen dioxide and ammonia, while Croatia, Germany and Spain exceeded their limits for ammonia.

The road transport sector is the largest contributor to total nitrogen dioxide emissions in the EU, while fuel combustion in the commercial, institutional and households sector is the largest contributor to total primary particulate matter emissions.

The report suggests for the third consecutive year, ammonia emissions have increased, by 0.4% between 2015 and 2016.

It says the overwhelming majority of ammonia emissions come from Europe’s agriculture sector, with emissions increasing in 15 EU Member States with Italy, the UK and Ireland reporting the highest increases.

Despite this, total emissions of nitrogen dioxide and sulphur oxides dropped by 3.7% and 15.1% respectively across the EU in 2016.

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