The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has reassured UK producers of organic and waste-based fertilisers that a new European regulation will not affect their ability to trade domestically.
A common set of rules on converting bio-waste into fertilising products was announced this week by the European Commission, the first ’deliverable’ from its circular economy package released in December.
While the regulation is designed to ease the transport of such products across the EU, the standards that would need to be met are higher than that achieved by some UK producers.
Many anaerobic digestion (AD) operators produce fertiliser as a sideline to their main energy production, and previously expressed concern about new EU standards being introduced.
However, the Commission told the Association of AD Operators (AADO) in October that the UK would be able to continue to use its own PAS110 and associated ADQP regulations.
Now the regulation has been finalised, an REA spokesperson told MRW the exemptions to the regulations would be “a big reassurance” to UK producers.
“It would be harder to comply with the EU fertiliser regulation, particularly if you are producing a liquid digestate,” the spokesperson said.
“Producers in the UK will be able to continue complying with the PAS and the quality protocols and putting their compost and digestate on the market in the UK.”
Currently, the EU imports around five million tonnes of phosphates a year, but it hopes the new regulation will help to replace up to 30% of this with extractions from sewage sludge, biodegradable waste, meat and bone meal or manure.
Commission investment vice-president Jyrki Katainen (pictured) said: “Very few of the abundant bio-waste resources are transformed into valuable fertilising products.
“Our farmers are using fertilisers manufactured from imported resources or from energy-intensive processes, although our industry could valorise these bio-wastes in recycled nutrients. This regulation will help us turn problems into opportunities for farmers and businesses.”
The regulation will now be sent to the European Parliament and Council for adoption.