A comprehensive approach to nitrogen in the UK

28 February 2022

Aether, alongside project partners the Stockholm Environment Institute, the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, and Plantlife International, undertook a study of the nitrogen cycles and pathways in the UK and reviewed existing strategies and policies that could affect the balance of nitrogen in the environment.

The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) wanted to understand the impact of the UK’s current reactive nitrogen emissions, identify potential interventions, and set out priorities for policy as a response.

We used our technical insight across sectors to highlight the primary sources of disruptive reactive nitrogen and potential interventions that would reduce their impact whilst helping to meet the “triple challenge” of food security, climate mitigation and reversing biodiversity loss. For this, we undertook a detailed literature review, combining our technical knowledge of emissions inventories and processes, before researching mechanisms and existing policy actions on a local, national, and international scale.

The technical report has been used as evidence within the WWF’s ‘Land of Plenty’ campaign, which calls on the UK’s central and devolved governments to consider the findings of our report and set out their own decarbonisation strategies for agriculture and land use.

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“The Aether team were a joy to work with and I would recommend the consultancy - the service provided throughout the process was exceptional.”

Clare Bayley, Defra

“I must congratulate each of you for your professional and tireless efforts. Let me point out that this has been the 'neatest' in-country review expert review team I have coordinated, and it has been a real pleasure.”

UNFCCC Secretariat

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Matthew Dudley, UNFCCC Secretariat

“The support provided by Aether for this project was especially remarkable considering the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tools and methods used in order to engage local stakeholders really added value to the capacity building of the national team.”

Shanna Emmanuel, Saint Lucia BUR Project Coordinator

“Aether delivered training workshops and generated learning materials for our SSN members, providing technical content in a manageable and comprehendible format. We particularly benefitted from their extensive knowledge and ability to interpret the needs of our members into the training materials.”

Jennifer Anderson, Sustainable Scotland Network

“A heartfelt thank you to all the Aether team for this very comprehensive review – this is certainly turning out to be one of the most beneficial capacity building projects I have ever been involved in.”

Saviour Vassallo, Senior Environment Protection Officer, Malta Resources Authority

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Javier Cano Martín, Professional Unit for Climate Change and Environmental Services, CONAF (National Forestry Corporation), Chile

“Aether was a great asset in involving/engaging with Member States experts on highly technical subjects regarding GHG reporting. Very clear communication of issues and results.”

Andreas Pilzecker, DG CLIMA

“Professional team and very collaborative communication. Effective result in terms of suggestions for improvement in the quality of the inventory and proposals on how to streamline specific topics.”

Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research

“Aether's approach to couple innovative visualisation with high expertise manpower delivered valuable insights for our inventory work.”

Umweltbundesamt (Germany)

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