Revised EU Fertiliser Regs could have implications for UK market for composts and digestates
Proposals for revised EU Fertiliser Regulations are currently being developed by the European Comission's Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry (DG ENTR). The proposals include draft safety and quality requirements for waste-derived composts and digestates (which under the proposals would be classed as either Organics Fertilisers or Soil Improvers).
We informed and consulted our members on these proposals in June 2014 (see relevant communication HERE). We also consulted members on our draft comments on these proposals during August 2014 (see relevant communication HERE). Our final comments submitted to Defra, European Biogas Association, European Compost Network and also directly to the DG ENTR can be downloaded HERE.
REA has been working very closely with ESA on this matter to identify what the implications of the EU Fertiliser Regulations may be on our national composts and digestates. Unfortunately it has yet to be made clear by the Commission how the EU Fertiliser Regs will be implemented across Europe and what impact they will have on our national regulatory controls currently applying to ‘waste’ and ‘product’ composts and digestates.
Up to this point, the REA and other trade bodies’ understanding has been that the likely scenario is that EU Fertiliser Regs will apply only if manufacturers wish to trade fertilisers as "EC fertilisers” and that composts and digestates produced in each country will only have to comply with the new EU fertiliser regs if they are intended to be placed on the market in other European Countries as Soil Improvers, Organics Fertilisers or Growing Media.
However, recent discussions between FEAD (the European Federation representing the European waste management industry) and the DG ENTR, which were reported to us by the ESA, indicate that the approach is likely to be different from what we anticipated and may have implications for the UK market for compost and digestate with both product and waste status.
According to FEAD’s interpretation, (yet to be confirmed by the DG ENTR), the intention of the Commission seems to be that the Fertiliser Regulations will supersede national End Of Waste criteria for compost and digestate (e.g. our national Compost and Digestate Quality Protocols). The Commission has apparently rejected the idea of having separate national EOW for the domestic market since it could be deemed to be counter to harmonising the EU fertiliser market.
For waste-derived fertilisers, FEAD's understanding is that DG ENTR intends to include technical requirements in line with those from the Joint Research Centre report on End of Waste for composts and digestates.
The next meeting of the EU Fertilisers Working Group is scheduled for 15 December 2014. If the legislative proposal is available by this date it will be presented to the members of the EU Fertiliser Working Group at the meeting. (The European trade association bodies that we work with - EBA and ECN - will attend the meeting.) However, it is more likely that the legislative proposal will be published at the beginning of next year.
REA and ESA along with Defra, WRAP, the EA and other trade bodies are currently seeking further clarification on the proposals.
We will endeavour to keep you informed of any developments. If you need any clarification, please contact Kiara at REA (Kiara@r-e-a.net).
Last update: 16/09/2014