A new tool that can be used to assess the potential air pollution impact of development proposals at sensitive sites such as lowland raised bogs should be available by the end of the year, DAERA officials told farmers at an ammonia consultation event in Enniskillen.

AERIUS is a UK-wide project, part-funded by DAERA, with the tool designed by the same software engineers behind a similar initiative in the Netherlands.

According to Keith Finegan from the NI Environment Agency, the free-to-use tool allows farmers to add in various mitigation measures to see what impact they might have on the overall emissions from the proposed development. The output from AERIUS can then be included with a planning application.


At the event in Enniskillen, DAERA officials also confirmed that they are working on a new operational protocol to assess the impact of air pollution on the environment.

DAERA guidance around ammonia emissions has been questioned by Shared Environmental Services, the body which advises planners on the impact of new development on European designated sites. Ultimately it has led to delays in planning for farmers.

“We are developing a call for evidence for a new operational protocol. There is no date as yet on when it will be released,” said Dr Kate Semple from DAERA.

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