Regulation (EC) 2003/2003 European fertilisers
REGULATION (EC) No 2003/2003 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 13 October 2003 was introduced to ensure the free circulation on the Internal Market of "EC Fertilisers" i.e. those fertilisers that meet the requirements of the legislation in terms of nutrient content, safety, and absence of adverse effects on the environment. It replaced the 18 different European Directives governing mineral fertilisers that had been introduced since 1976.
The regulation was transposed into UK legislation through the EC Fertiliser (England and Wales) Regulations 2006 (SI No. 2486).
Despite many similarities existing between UK and EC fertiliser types, there are some significant differences in the types of fertilisers listed, many stemming from historical agricultural practices.
The regulation is constantly under review with ongoing minor revisions currently implemented through Adaptations to Technical Progress (ATPs). Revision of the regulation is undertaken by the EC Enterprise & Industry DG Fertilisers Working Group composed of representatives from Member States, EFTA countries and industry bodies.
Regulation (EU) 463/2013
European Commission Regulation (EU) No. 463/2013 is the 7th ATP (Adaption to Technical Progress) and came into force on 7 June 2014. This 'update' to the Regulation has the effect of amending the European Fertiliser Regulation 2003/2003, and for the first time includes Agricultural Liming Materials and Products.
NOTE: Silicate Liming Materials are not currently included in the Regulation.
At the time of introduction, the commission agreed to allow Member States to continue exercising "partial-harmonisation". Partial-Harmonisation allows producers to decide which regulation they wish to comply with; either the Regulation (EU) Fertilisers 2003/2003 OR UK National Standards – The 1991 Fertiliser Regulation. In either case, marketing of agricultural lime products and materials must be compliant with the declarations and specifications of the regulation.
Download the New European Lime Standard Regulation - Issued 17 May 2013
Future Fertiliser Direction
In 2012 the European Commission commissioned a review to examine the future direction and landscape for EU Fertiliser Regulation. The Commission has further taken into account the need to exercise the profligate use of resources and to widen the regulatory scope making use of recycled or organic materials for fertilising purposes. Harmonised standards for making fertilisers from recycled or organic materials products on the internal market should be established to incentivise their use.
The latest regulatory draft (December 2016) incorporates both recycled and organic products into an enlarged standard. The regulation is preceded with seven chapters covering the general provisions and detail; with the main changes seen in the 5 Annex's. All indications are that the new regulation will continue the current trend and facilitate partial-harmonisation.
Annex 1 lists the designation of the "Product Function Categories" (PFC), there are seven PFC's including Mineral and Organic fertilisers Liming Materials, Soil Improvers, Growing Mediums, Plant Bio-stimulant and Fertilising Product Blends.
The criteria for PFC 2 Liming Materials. – include safety and efficacy thresholds.
Liming materials shall contain oxides, hydroxides, carbonates or silicates of the nutrients calcium (Ca) or Magnesium (Mg).
Safety Factors – Prescribed limits on trace elements including Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium (VI), Total Chromium, Mercury, Nickel, Lead, Arsenic, Copper, and Zinc.
Efficacy Factors – determined on the mass of the liming product will achieve the following minimum levels as delivered.
Neutralising Value – 25 (equivalent CaO) or 15 (equivalent HO-) and
Minimum Reactivity – 10% (hydrochloric acid test) or 50% after 6 months (incubation test)
Annex 2 lists the eleven product origins, liming materials are included in Component Material Category 1 (CMC 1) Virgin material substances and mixtures. This highlights the pure and natural nature of products, categorically excluding animal and organic materials.
Annex 3 – Details the labelling requirements of liming materials and the set tolerances applicable to PFC
Annex 4 – Includes the conformity assessment procedures
Annex 5 – includes details of the EU Declaration of Conformity.
Current expectations are for implementation by Members States in 2019/20. But with no view of the post-Brexit landscape the future direction of fertiliser regulation in UK – or in devolved parliaments remains uncertain.