Nitrogen Deposition and the Nature Directives Workshop

Impacts and Responses: Our Shared Experience


Atmospheric nitrogen pollution has been identified as a major pressure to sensitive habitats and species across Europe. For example, there is good evidence that nitrogen deposition has reduced the diversity of plant species in a range of habitats across the UK. Unless it is tackled, nitrogen deposition is likely to present a serious impediment to achieving the aims of European legislation such as the aims of European legislation such as the Habitats and Birds Directives. It is a problem that can only be tackled effectively by co-ordinated action across administrative and national boundaries.


In response to this, in December,  JNCC hosted a “Nitrogen Deposition and the Nature Directives Workshop” on behalf of the UK Government, devolved administrations and statutory nature conservation bodies. JNCC collaborated with the Dutch Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen in preparing the workshop.

Professor Ian Boyd © Cathy Gardner_JNCC


The workshop brought together leading experts from across the countries of the Atlantic region of Europe, to share knowledge and experience of assessing the impacts of atmospheric nitrogen pollution and examine countries’ approaches or strategies to reduce impacts on Natura sites and the wider landscape.


Professor Ian Boyd, the Chief Scientific Adviser at Defra, provided the opening address. This was followed by a series of presentations from guest speakers from the European Commission, European Topic Centre for Biological Diversity and from expert groups from Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution.  Detailed discussions were then held in working groups which examined specific topics in greater detail.


The workshop was very well received: participants welcomed the opportunity to exchange information and best practice between experts and to make contacts for future collaboration. An emerging theme was the need to continue sharing good practice across a range of measures to reduce nitrogen impacts, and an increased awareness across not only the conservation community but the main source sectors, such as agriculture, as well as the public more widely.


A report of the workshop will be published in spring 2014. It will record the conclusions and recommendations, including where follow up work is suggested, and a description of countries’ approaches to assessing and tackling impacts from nitrogen pollution.  


Contact File


Clare Whitfield

Air Pollution Adviser

Tel: +44 (0) 1733 866804


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