Indicator Fact Sheet

Emission trends of ammonia NH3

Indicator Fact Sheet
Prod-ID: IND-168-en
  Also known as: APE 003 , APE 3a
This is an old version, kept for reference only.

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This page was archived on 18 Jun 2015 with reason: Other (Discontinued Indicator)

Assessment made on  01 Dec 2005

Generic metadata



DPSIR: Pressure


Indicator codes
  • APE 003
  • APE 3a

Policy issue:  Are we reaching emission targets for acidifying and eutrophicating substances?

Key assessment

EEA-32 ammonia emissions have decreased by 20% between 1990 and 2005. The agricultural sector remains the major source of ammonia emissions (93% of total 2005 emissions).

These emissions derive mainly from the decomposition of urea in animal wastes and uric acid in poultry wastes. Emissions depend on the animal species, age, weight, diet, housing systems, waste management and storage techniques. The majority of the reduction in emissions is due to the combination of reduced livestock numbers across Europe (especially cattle), and the lower use of nitrogenous fertilisers. Emissions from road transport, although relatively small have been rising as a result of the increasing use of three-way catalytic converters in the vehicle fleet (this is due to an unwanted reaction involving hydrogen which reduces NO to NH3.

However, emissions are projected to fall in the future as the second generation of catalysts (which emit lower levels of NH3 than the first generation catalysts) penetrate the vehicle fleet.

NH3 emissions have also declined in countries outside the European Union (EFTA-4 and CC-3) between 1990 and 2005. Again this is primarily due to reductions which have occurred in the agricultural sector as a result of decreasing animal numbers.


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