The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission has recently published the Science for Policy report “Technical proposals for the safe use of processed manure above the threshold established for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones by the Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC)”. The objective of the report is to help define those harmonised criteria that could allow nitrogen fertilisers, partially or entirely derived from manure through processing, to be used in areas subject to the ceiling of 170 kg N/ha/yr prescribed in the Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC) following identical provisions applied to chemical nitrogen fertilisers. The report results of the JRC project SAFEMANURE (SAFE processed MANURE). The concerned materials are called RENURE, from ‘REcovered Nitrogen from manURE’.
With this report, the JRC proposes harmonised criteria to allow manure derived nitrogen fertilisers to be used as chemical nitrogen fertilisers as defined by the Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC). The report identifies as main challenges to the use of manure derived nitrogen fertilisers the protection of designated water bodies from nitrate leached due to the use of these materials and their agronomic efficiency. JRC proposes generic criteria on product quality. Next generic proposals on application techniques to prevent ammonia emission, timing of fertilisation and storage are given.
SYSTEMIC provided input to JRC on the properties of the RENURE products, their agronomic efficacy and environmental effects in comparison with chemical nitrogen fertilisers and made the case through a policy note that boosting the nutrient circular economy will require nitrogenous mineral fertilising products from manure to be treated as mineral fertilisers. This policy note was supported by fact sheets and a documentation report with supporting literature.
Proposals of JRC’s Science for Policy report are currently studied by the European Commission. A policy process has started how to implement the proposals in the Nitrates Directive. It is expected that in 2021 RENURE materials can be used following the same provisions for chemical nitrogen fertilisers of this directive.
The JRC document can be accessed here.