1. Current fertiliser legislation
- Unofficial consolidation of the Regulation (EC) No 2003/2003
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 1257/2014 of 24 November 2014 amending Regulation (EC) No 2003/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to fertilisers for the purposes of adapting Annexes I and IV
- The fertilisers working group provides expertise to the Commission in relation to the implementation of the current Fertilisers Regulation as well as on policy orientation. It meets 2 to 3 times per year. All documents discussed in the meetings are published in advance on the dedicated Circabc website called 'fertipub'. Direct access to this website is possible via this link. (If you do not find a list of meetings directly via the link, then please click on the same link again.)
2. Derogations from current legislation on fertilisers
- Austria, Finland and Sweden have been granted derogation from Regulation (EC) No 2003/2003, allowing those Member States to prohibit the placing on the market of fertilisers exceeding certain limits of cadmium in relation to their phosphorous content. The derogations apply until harmonised measures on cadmium in fertilisers are applicable at Community level, and are approved by the following Decisions:
- Austria: Commission Decision 2006/349/EC
- Finland: Commission Decision 2006/348/EC
- Sweden: Commission Decision 2006/347/EC
3. Additional information on current fertiliser legislation
- Member states approved laboratories
- Guide on Introduction of a new type of EC fertiliser
4. Mutual recognition of national fertilisers
- Non-binding guidance documents on the use of the Mutual Recognition Regulation for national fertilisers.
- What is the Mutual Recognition Regulation?
5. The revision of the current EU Legislation on Fertilisers
As announced in the circular economy action plan, in March 2016 the Commission put forward a legislative proposal on fertilising products:
Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL laying down rules on the making available on the market of CE marked fertilising products and amending Regulations (EC) No 1069/2009 and (EC) No 1107/2009 - COM/2016/0157 final - 2016/084 (COD)
This proposal, which is in preparation since 2010, has two objectives:
- to incentivise large scale fertiliser production from domestic sources, transforming waste into nutrients for crops;
- to introduce harmonised cadmium limits for phosphate fertilisers. Although the proposal repeals the 2003 Regulation, its main overall principles remain unchanged.
The proposal would apply to a wider range of fertilising products made up of certain component materials. It modernises the conformity assessment and market surveillance in line with the 'new legislative framework' for product legislation. For each of the fertilising products (and their subcategories) as well as for each of the component materials, the proposal introduces specific harmonised requirements regarding:
- quality, for instance on minimum nutrient content or organic matter content;
- safety, for instance maximum limits for heavy metals (such as cadmium, chromium, mercury, nickel, lead and arsenic), for organic (such as biuret in organic and inorganic fertiliser, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in compost and digestate), for microbial contaminants (such as salmonella or E. coli) and for impurities (such as glass, metal and plastics in compost or digestate). As regards cadmium in phosphate fertilisers, the proposal introduces an initial limit of 60 mg cadmium/kg phosphorus, to be tightened to 40 mg/kg after 3 years, and to 20 mg/kg after 12 years; and
- labelling, for instance on actual nutrient content and forms.
According to the Commission, the proposal would deliver a range of benefits, including the creation of about 120 000 jobs thanks to bio-waste recycling in organic fertilisers; reduced dependency on non-domestic raw materials (for instance phosphate); reduction in greenhouse gas emissions during inorganic fertilisers manufacturing, as well as pollution caused by excess nutrients; increased resource efficiency; decrease in costs for public authorities from €17 million down to €10 million annually; overall reduction in compliance costs for economic operators; and a 65% reduction in costs for industry to place new products on the market.
As regards costs, although the Commission indicates that they are 'proportionate to the expected benefits for businesses and the society', a 2013 competitiveness proofing study indicates that for some companies, e.g. SMEs producing compost, new compliance costs could amount to 10% of production costs, and notes that SME competitiveness may be particularly affected.
In its resolution of 9 July 2015 on resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy, the European Parliament urged the Commission to develop a policy framework on nutrients in order to enhance recycling, foster innovation, improve market conditions and mainstream their sustainable use in EU legislation on fertilisers.
The Council is considering the proposal at working party level.
In the European Parliament (EP), the proposal has been considered by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee last July 2017, after consultation of two other EP committees: Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) and Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI). The Committee on International Trade (INTA) also adopted an opinion on the proposal.
The report adopted by the IMCO committee on 13 July 2017 proposes a number of changes, including some put forward by the ENVI committee in areas of exclusive competence (provisions on contaminants) and by the AGRI committee in areas of shared competence (provisions other than market regulation and contaminants).
Proposed changes by the EP committees included:
- reducing the administrative burden and liability for economic operators;
- raising requirements related to nutrient content in fertilising products, with a view to ensuring quality;
- modifying contaminant limits for fertilisers, in particular tightening the limits for lead and biuret and bringing forward the implementation of the 20 mg/kg cadmium limit in phosphate fertilisers (from twelve to nine years after the date of application);
- creating new product and material categories, for instance a 'low-carbon fertiliser' product category and an 'other industry by-products' material category;
- modifying requirements related to the use of plastics in fertilising products (in particular requiring them to biodegrade in 48 months, compared with 24 months proposed by the Commission);
- requiring the Commission to report, three and a half years after the regulation's date of application, on the functioning of the internal market for fertilising products, on the implications of limits for contaminants, on the state of decadmiation technologies and on the impacts on trade; and to consider criteria, one year after entry into force, related to the use of processed livestock manure in fertilising products.
The report will be adopted by the EP plenary on 23 October 2017.
Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules on the making available on the market of CE marked fertilising products and amending Regulations (EC) No 1069/2009 and (EC) No 1107/2009 - (COM(2016)0157 – C8-0123/2016 – 2016/0084(COD))