Possible plans to cut ammonia emissions by up to 30 percent in the upcoming review of EU air quality policy have been criticized as unrealistic, not cost effective and not backed by science by Copa-Cogeca. The umbrella organization for European farming unions adds that the plans fail into take into account the achievements in cutting emissions made to date by the farming industry.

"We believe that the commission should recognize the reductions and investment already undertaken by the farm sector," said Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen. "For example, ammonia emissions fell by 22 percent between 1990 and 2009 to 288,000 [metric tons] in the UK, excluding natural emissions from wild animals and humans, in Italy by 25 percent in poultry rearing, and in general by about 20 percent since 1990 in Germany. This is a big step forward and at a big cost to the farm sector."

He added: "Copa-Cogeca urges the commission to revise the proposals to find a workable balance between the viability of farming and the contribution to world food security as well as climate change mitigation, air quality, biodiversity, flood risk management and water quality."

A review of EU air quality policy is expected to be announced at the end of 2013.