Call for Evidence on impacts of air pollution on the natural environment

Date published: 21 July 2023

The Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has launched an eight-week Call for Evidence on its Future Operational Protocol to assess the impacts of air pollutants, such as ammonia, on the natural environment.


The Call for Evidence closes on 15 September 2023.

DAERA is committed to doing everything it can to tackle the challenging and growing problem of ammonia emissions from agricultural activities and the impact on sensitive habitats and biodiversity across Northern Ireland. Current policy is to deliver a solution which achieves both a protected and improved environment and a sustainable agriculture sector. To achieve that balance is challenging and requires us to make sure we are providing policy advice to ministers on their return that is informed by robust evidence

The recent consultation on the draft Ammonia Strategy was part of this programme of work and responses to the consultation are currently being considered by DAERA. The Call for Evidence is the next step in this programme of work.

DAERA, in its role as the appropriate nature conservation body in Northern Ireland has a duty to provide advice to planning authorities and other competent authorities on the potential impacts of air pollution, including ammonia, from plans and projects on designated sites and protected habitats. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) performs this function for terrestrial/freshwater environments, on behalf of DAERA. This advice is provided through the use of an Operational Protocol.

A DAERA spokesperson said: “This Call for Evidence presents available scientific evidence, taking account of legal requirements, and drawing upon expertise from subject area specialists.  

“However, we recognise that we may not have access to all evidence of relevance in the development of the future Operational Protocol.  

“Therefore, stakeholders are invited to submit additional evidence that will contribute to the development and delivery of a scientifically robust, evidence-informed, Operational Protocol to protect our natural environment and ensure sustainable development of our agriculture sector.”

This Call for Evidence is your opportunity to help inform and shape the proposals for the future Operational Protocol.

Download more information on the Call for Evidence.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Future Operational Protocol will deliver tools to ensure compliance with environmental legislation and also contribute to wider statutory obligations in relation to emissions to air and biodiversity. It will be based on robust scientific evidence that is effective in protecting our sensitive habitats, whilst facilitating sustainable development and reducing ammonia emissions from livestock and will contribute to the Department’s goal to create a profitable, productive, environmentally sustainable, and resilient agri-food sector.
  2. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook.
  3. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: or phone 02890 524619.
  4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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