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Nitrogen Futures 2020


Atmospheric nitrogen (N) pollution is a major threat to UK biodiversity, leading to impacts including loss of sensitive species of plants, lichens and animals. Atmospheric N pollution is also a large risk to public health. Effects on ecosystems occur through direct impacts from elevated concentrations in the air, and through deposition of N compounds onto vegetation and soils which can lead to acidification and over-enrichment (eutrophication). There is strong evidence that N pollution has driven local extinctions of plant and lichen species across the UK, and increasing evidence of impacts on fungi, insects, birds and other animals. All of these are important components of biodiversity and contribute to ecosystem functions such as soil formation and nutrient cycling.

The main aims of this study were to update and further develop the UK evidence base on the effectiveness of spatial targeting of mitigation measures, and to test a range of potential options for future UK policy development. Specifically, the study aimed to develop detailed scenarios for 2030 and beyond, at different levels of ambition, and to evaluate them in terms of environmental benefits. Outputs were provided at country (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and UK level, also taking account of within-country spatial variability.

Additionally, local case studies assessed whether outputs from UK-scale models can identify atmospheric N pressures at designated sites and whether spatial targeting of mitigation is a suitable strategy to decrease atmospheric N effects at these sites.

Available here are the main report, its six accompanying annexes, and a non-technical summary report.

Further information about the Nitrogen Futures project can be found on the Nitrogen Futures webpage.

Resource type Publication

Topic category Environment

Reference date 2020·09·01

Dragosits, U., Carnell, E.J., Tomlinson, S.J., Misselbrook, T.H., Rowe, E.C., Mitchell, Z., Thomas, I.N., Dore, A.J., Levy, P., Zwagerman, T., Jones, L., Dore, C., Hampshire, K., Raoult, J., German, R., Pridmore, A., Williamson, T., Marner, B., Hodgins, L., Laxen, D., Wilkins, K., Stevens, C., Zappala, S., Field, C. & Caporn, S.J.M. 2020. Nitrogen Futures. JNCC Report No. 665, JNCC, Peterborough, ISSN 0963-8091.

These resources were produced for the Nitrogen Futures Project.

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC publisher

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2021·02·24

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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