Nitrogen use efficiency in Scotland: annual report 2023

First annual report under section 5(1)(c) of the Climate Change (Nitrogen Balance Sheet) (Scotland) Regulations 2022, and complements the latest published version of the Nitrogen Balance Sheet for the year 2020.

Progress towards implementing proposals and policies relevant to improving nitrogen use efficiency in Scotland

The Scottish Government has a range of strategies and policy initiatives in place, across sectors of the economy, to improve the use of nitrogen and thereby reduce the harms caused by losses into the environment. These measures include:

  • a range of measures that can be expected to improve the efficiency of nitrogen use within food production, such as increasing uptake of climate mitigation measures by farmers, crofters, land managers and other primary food producers; increasing awareness and knowledge transfer and reduced emissions from nitrogen fertiliser, along with improved storage and use of slurry.
  • a range of policies to reduce dependence on fossil fuel combustion across sectors (including transport, industry and wider energy use), for example by shifting to electric vehicles, supporting active travel choices and supporting renewable energy technologies, all of which will help reduce nitrous oxide emissions from these sectors.
  • a range of policies to reduce the environmental impacts of waste management processes and support a transition towards a more circular economy, for example, delivering against our ambitious target to reduce food waste by one third by 2025 (against a 2013 baseline), through the Food Waste Reduction Action Plan, which will reduce nitrogen losses associated with food production and consumption.



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