Ammonia Modelling Studies

Poultry shed

Studies to help protect sensitive environmental sites

The UK is committed to reducing environmental ammonia emissions under the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol. High concentrations of ammonia can lead to direct damage to woodlands, for example, such as leaf scorching and loss. Ammonia can cause change in plant morphology, physiology and biochemistry, causing increased growth rates and increased sensitivity to wind, frost, drought and pests. Where it is deposited as nitrogen, ammonia can cause acidification and eutrophication of soils. Species richness can be compromised, especially for slow growing species which suffer from increased competition.

In order to obtain an Environmental Permit, the environmental impacts of a facility must be considered, with particular emphasis on the effects at nature conservation sites such as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Specially Protected Areas (SPAs), Ramsar sites, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Local & National Nature Reserves, Local Wildlife Sites (LWSs) and Ancient Woodlands (AWs).

The dispersion of ammonia is modelled as both a concentration of ammonia in air, and the rate of deposition to ground of nitrogen from the ammonia. Ammonia is, in the main, emitted from agriculture, as a result of the natural breakdown of urea or uric acid from livestock and poultry. MORET has a wealth of experience of working with farmers in order to understand on-farm sources of ammonia, and characterise and quantify them using established emission factors in an emissions inventory. Where necessary, MORET is uniquely placed to call upon a wealth of experience at ADAS to provide more detailed characterisation of ammonia sources, ecological services where the nature of a sensitive ecological site must be defined by a field study, and then expertise in drawing up environmental permitting applications. Expert Witnesses from both the MORET team and ADAS can provide further support for the permitting and planning process.

Why undertake an ammonia modelling study?

  • Understand the impact of the facility upon local environmental levels of ammonia and nitrogen upon ecologically sensitive sites nearby.
  • Inform designs - at the project planning stage, proponents, planners and environmental regulators should consider the compatibility of a proposal with local ecologically sensitive sites. 
  • Inform the location choice and design of new activities and sustainable land-use planning around existing activities, ensuring the best environmental outcomes. 
  • Find the most appropriate odour management strategy to suit local conditions and the nature of the emissions generated by the business.

What we provide

Our ammonia modelling studies include: 

  • Emission inventories.
  • Ammonia Dispersion Modelling using quality assured Met Office climatologies.
  • The results of the dispersion modelling, presented as modelled ammonia concentrations and nitrogen deposition rates at nearby ecologically sensitve sites, and footprint maps of the areas of predicted impacts.
  • Comparison of modelled ammonia concentrations and deposition rates with site Critical Levels of ammonia concentration and Critical Loads of deposition rates.
  • Scenario modelling, as required, of proposed abatement / mitigation.
  • Expert comment of the results.
  • A covering report that meets regulatory guidelines and is valued by permitting and planning authorities.
  • Expert witness services.

Contact us

  1. For more information, please contact our team of experts by filling in the form below:
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Last updated: 7 March 2014

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