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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.

PDFDownload: Regulation (EC) No 2003/2003 of the European - EUR-Lex PDF

Agricultural Liming Products

To satisfy agricultural requirements for liming products with the occurrence and availability of natural deposits, cross border trade is a well-established practice within Europe. Whilst E.C. Regulation 2003/2003 provides legislative direction for the specification and composition of EU fertilisers, there has, until now, been no EU regulation providing a pan-European platform on the specification for agricultural liming products. Historically member states were regulated by their own national regulations, resulting in wide variations in both products and specifications.  To facilitate transparency and universally recognisable products a common pan-European platform has been developed by the Committee for Standardisation (CEN) - TC 260 WG3 Fertilisers and Liming Materials, in order that LM’s may circulate freely within the internal market.

Regulation (EU) 463/2013

European Commission Regulation (EU) No. 463/2013 was issued on 17 May 2013 and comes into force on 7 June 2014.

This Regulation has the effect of amending the European Fertiliser Regulation 2003/2003, and it includes for the first time Agricultural Liming Materials.

NOTE:  Silicate Liming Materials are not currently included in the Regulation.

From 7 June this year, and throughout the UK, Liming Materials will be sold as “E.C.Fertiliser Liming Materials” and must conform to the specifications and labelling requirements set out in the new Regulation. That part of the current United Kingdom “1991 Fertiliser Regulations” relating to Liming Materials listed in the Regulation schedule will be overtaken by the new Regulation, and will cease to apply.

After 7 June this year :

Agricultural Lime Products will be sold as “E C Fertiliser Liming Materials” -

  • Sales documentation must state: The parent rock type (i.e.Limestone, Chalk, Magnesian Limestone, Dolomitic Limestone etc).
  • The grade of product (i.e.Standard Quality or Fine Quality).
  • The Neutralising Value.
  • The Calcium content (In the case of Limestone and Chalk).
  • The Magnesium content (In the case of Magnesian Limestone and Dolomitic Limestone).

There is the opportunity to declare the Reactivity (The method used to be stated).

The generous Specification tolerances listed in Annex II of the Regulation should be noted.

The British Standard /European Standard methods of analysis to be used are listed in Annex III of the Regulation.

PDFDownload the New European Lime Standard Regulation - Issued 17 May 2013

Where Now?

In 2012 the European Commission commissioned a review to examine the options and  landscape for future EU Fertiliser Regulation. Four industry focused working groups were charged to examine specific areas:

  • Overall Structure.
  • Nutrient content, product compliance and agronomic efficacy.
  • Contaminants, hygiene and other risk .
  • Labelling, enforcement and control.

At the culmination of the groups' one year deliberations reports were submitted to the Commission. The Commission subsequently produced a short description of seven options.  Following discussions with members and the wider fertiliser industry, ALA contacted DEFRA to lobby for Option Six, which looked for harmonisation of the fertiliser market using a strategy labelled the “New Approach”.  In this option, future regulation would specify general essential requirements with regard to safety, agronomic and other specific technical issues (as appropriate) for the placing on the internal market of safe and efficient fertilisers.  All further details – if necessary also individual types – would be developed in EN Standards.

There would be no more listing of ingredients or types in an Annex of the regulation and hence on more need for frequent ATPs. 

The publication of an ‘Impact Assesment’ based on the options has been expected from autumn 2013, it can only be assumed that failure to publish this highlights some serious remaining concerns.  Looking positively, following publication of the Impact Assesment, and given no major issues, a consultation will be produced.  With EU elections in 2014 and a reluctance to commission new work, the earliest a new regulation would be enacted is likely to be 2018.

PDFDownload: Regulation (EC) No 2003/2003 of the European - EUR-Lex PDF

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