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The European Parliament has concluded the legislative adoption of the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation, by validating the “trilogue” compromise text in a plenary vote on 27th March. This new Regulation will open the European market for recycled nutrient products, and also for nutrient recycling technologies. It covers organic, organo-mineral and mineral fertilisers, composts, digestates, food industry by-products, as well as other products such as liming materials and fertiliser polymers. Because this is a ‘Regulation’, it will be applicable across Europe without requiring Member State transposition. However, it will only be fully applicable three years after publication, to allow time for implementation. After that date, any EU Fertilising Product can be sold in any EU country. Member States will also have the continuing possibility to authorise other products in their country as ‘national’ fertilisers. A ‘clean’ version of the final EU Fertilisers Regulation text is not yet available, but the adopted version can be consulted here. The adopted text does not cover struvite and recovered phosphate salts, ashes and ash-derived products, nor biochars / pyrolysis materials. These should be added to the Regulation after adoption by the European Commission, logically as proposed in the JRC STRUBIAS (final report not yet published).

Final ‘trilogue’ agreed text:
Final text adopted by European Parliament 27th March 2019 (NOTE: it is our understanding that these two texts should be the same, but the layout is different)

More than 50 companies, organisations and scientifists have signed a statement to support the farm nutrient balance tool (FaST) in the European Commission’s proposed text for the next CAP (Common Agricultural Policy). The proposed tool would ensure that all farmers across Europe develop a minimum “nutrient balance” calculation, using either an “app” developed and provided by the EU or other compatible existing national or private tools. Currently around half of farmers in the United Kingdom, for example, do not have any farm nutrient calculation in place. ESPP has communicated the position to relevant MEPs (European Parliament) and Council (Member States).

European Commission presentation of FaST (Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients)

Online “demonstrator”

Summary of FaST: ESPP eNews n°25

European Commission proposal for new CAP

Position supporting the FaST proposal

ESPP made input to the public consultation on the EU Ecolabel scheme suggesting that Ecolabels be developed for fertilising products (fertilisers, soil improvers, biostimulants ..), in coherence with the new EH Fertilising Products Regulation. ESPP also supported application of the Ecolabel to the food & beverage sector (because of its footprint on phosphorus use and losses).

EU public consultation on EU Ecolabel scheme to 3rd March 2019:

ESPP is collecting support for maintaining the farm nutrient balance tool (FaST) in the European Commission’s proposed text for the next CAP (Common Agricultural Policy). The objective is to demonstrate science and industry support for this initiative, which will ensure and facilitate that all farmers across Europe develop a minimum “nutrient balance” calculation. Currently around half of farmers in the United Kingdom, for example, do not have any farm nutrient balance calculation in place. The Commission’s FaST proposal includes development of a smart phone tool, made available to farmers, which will provide information on applicable regulations and enable entry of nutrient data, field by field. Member States and farmers will also be free to use other existing tools to enter their nutrient balance, subject to reporting compatibility (e.g. national nutrient balance systems, farm advisory service tools …). ESPP is asking the European Parliament and Member States to maintain the FaST nutrient tool in the new CAP as a mandatory condition for all farmers receiving EU subsidies. Organisation wishing to support this, please sign the joint statement available at (under “Common Agricultural Policy” and send to , including name of your organisation, logo of organisation, and name and email of person to be included as contact.

European Commission presentation of FaST (Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients) and online “demonstrator”

Summary of FaST: ESPP eNews n°25

European Commission proposal for new CAP

SOFIE: 1st Summit of the Organic Fertiliser Industry in Europe
Organised by ESPP in partnership with IFS (International Fertiliser Society)

Brussels, Belgium (within walking distance of Gare du Midi and Gare Centrale)
Wednesday 5th 14h00 – Thursday 6th June 16h30

All up to date information and draft programme can be found at

SOFIE2019 logo

SOFIE 2019 takes place back to the IFS Technical Conference 4th June lunch – 5th June lunch


Please register via this link:

The key target for this conference is industry, that is manufacturers, distributors and importers of organic fertilising products, although speakers will include leading agronomists and regulators. The registration fee structure is therefore fixed as follows (inclusive of VAT, includes networking light dinner cocktail after the conference 5th June and lunch 6th June)

  • Special industry rate = 185 €
    Reserved for SMEs and farmers cooperatives producing or distributing organic fertilisers
  • Reduced price = 125€
    Reserved for Members of ESPP or of IFS, paying registrants at IFS Technical Conference
  • Standard registration = 450 €

Stands (industry, research, other selected organisations which are partners of SOFIE …):
900 € inc. VAT (-50% for ESPP members)

Proposals for speakers or stands are welcome


SOFIE2019 logoIFS logo epss logo narrow

ICL Fertilizers, one of the world’s largest fertiliser companies and a founding member of ESPP, is organising an official opening event for phosphate recycling installations at their Amsterdam mineral fertiliser factory, March 7th 2019. The installation will enable use of bone meal ash and sewage sludge incineration ash as raw materials in commercial phosphate fertiliser production. Speakers will include the North Holland Province, which provided financial support to this project, and the Chair of the Netherlands chemicals industry federation VCNI.

To participate:

The European Commission JRC has renewed a call for study data or publications concerning the agronomic effects of processed manure or fertiliser products recycled from manure. This is part of the DG ENVI “SafeManure” study addressing application limits for recycled fertilisers produced from manure (“processed manure” under the Nitrates Directive). The data must include experimental data (pot or field trials, leaching tests … not only review) comparing processed manure / manure recycled product to mineral fertiliser and to a control.

JRC is interested in any nitrogen-containing material recovered from or processed from any type of animal manure, slurry or litter, with manure only as input material or manure mixed with other materials (minimum c. 10% manure): including e.g. mineral products recovered from manure processing (such as struvite or other precipitated salts containing nitrogen, ammonium salts recovered from biogas …), “mineral concentrates” (from membrane separation), digestate, compost, dried - pelletised – or limed manure or similar, manure ashes / processed ashes, biochars / pyrolysis materials, etc.

Data should address, in conditions relevant for Europe, one or more of the following: nitrogen plant uptake / efficiency / impact on crop yield, and/or nitrogen leaching. For e.g. struvite, data should enable to relate crop yield to nitrogen application (not only to phosphorus). The objective is to compare the agronomic performance and/or potential environmental impacts of the nitrogen present in the processed manure materials to those of mineral nitrogen fertilisers. The mineral fertilisers compared may be the same as the recovered product (e.g. comparison of ammonium sulphate from digester gas stripping with synthetic ammonium sulphate) or may be different (e.g. comparison of synthetic urea with dried manure). Information provided should be in English or and English summary/translation must be provided (e.g. summary and translation of headers of data tables). Full pdfs of literature should be provided.

You can check a list of studies already received by JRC at (under “SafeManure documents”), indicating which studies have been assessed to be useable (24 to date) and which have been rejected (and why).

Please send any relevant data by 10th February 2019 to: (unless data is confidential) and we will forward to the European Commission (JRC).

Newsletter about nutrient stewardship - European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP).

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Upcoming events
1st Summit of the Organic Fertiliser Industry in Europe (SOFIE) 5-6 June 2019, Brussels
9th International Phosphorus Workshop (IPW9)
Save the date: ESPC4
Consultations and calls for information
Join the initiative to support the farm nutrient balance tool proposal (FaST) !
EU JRC call for data and publications on recycled manure products
EU consultation on circular product policy
EU consultation open on water policy
Call for EU Focus Group members – soil contamination
Diet and health
Scientists claim that diet phosphorus may make us “lazy” and inactive
EAT-Lancet Commission launches “Food Planet Health” report
EU Fertilisers Regulation approved by Member States
Standard for declaration of Critical Raw Materials in electrical equipment
Recycled phosphorus from manures
European Commission finds pharmaceuticals in manures
Summaries of manure nutrient recovery technologies
Research and implementation
Effectiveness of a buffer strip in reducing phosphorus runoff
Austrian expert report on sewage and animal by-product phosphorus recycling
Suez Phosgreen struvite recovery, Mulhouse, France
New methods for real-time analysis of crop phosphorus need
Natural iron minerals tested as constructed wetlands substrate
EU science advisory committee report on microplastics
Nutrient use efficiency identified as agricultural research priority
ESPP Members
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The European Commission is calling for experts to participate in an EIP-AGRI Focus Group on “Protecting agricultural soils from contamination”. Focus Groups are coordinated by the European Commission over 1-2 years to collate information, define research needs (input to EU R&D funding programmes) and propose themes for EU Rural Development Funding agriculture ‘Operational Groups’. The Focus Group will address contamination of agricultural soils across Europe, including industrial and consumer chemicals and waste disposal, and consider risks of uptake by crops and livestock, and so possible human health threats. The Focus Group aims to identify innovative farm management methods and best practices to prevent and remedy soil contamination. Candidature for the Focus Group is open until Monday 11th February 2019. Experts must submit CV and motivation.

EU EIP-AGRI call for experts to participate in Focus Group on “Protecting agricultural soils from contamination” – open to 11th February 2019. Applicant experts can include farmers, farm advisers, socio-economic experts, and operators with practical experience.

Organised for the organic* fertilisers industry across Europe by ESPP, in partnership with IFS (International Fertiliser Society), SOFIE will address:
- The agronomic science behind claims of organic fertilisers concerning nutrients, soil health and environment
- Industry and market perspectives, including quality, innovation and export opportunities
- Circular Economy
- European regulatory challenges, especially the new EU Fertilising Products Regulation (with the European Commission)

The SOFIE organic fertilisers summit will back-to-back to the IFS technical conference (International Fertiliser Society) 4th – 5th June

This is the first ever European conference for the organic fertilisers industry, and will facilitate networking across Europe of organic fertiliser producers (including composts, digestates, biochars …), organic waste processors / recyclers, fertiliser distributors and experts and advisors to these industries, including applied agronomists, agricultural outreach services, regulators, etc.

The programme is currently under finalisation. Companies interested in a stand to present their products / services, and experts interested to speak, etc. please contact


* note: “Organic Fertilisers” here refers to nutrient products containing organic carbon, not to organic ‘non chemical’ farming.

ESPP proposes to support the European Commission’s proposal that all farmers should inform a nutrient balance (inputs in fertilisers, crop remains, other amendments; offtakes in crops), included in the proposals for the new CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) as FaST - Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients. Some regions already have such systems, but others do not: for example, only around half of United Kingdom farmers have in place a nutrient balance (Achim Dobermann, Rothamsted, IFS Conference, 6/12/18). The Commission’s FaST proposal includes development of a smart phone tool, made available to farmers, which will provide information on applicable regulations and enable entry of nutrient data, field by field, as well as enabling coherent data reporting. Member States and farmers will also be able to use other existing tools to enter their nutrient balance, subject to reporting compatibility. ESPP is asking the European Parliament and Member States to maintain the FaST nutrient tool in the new CAP as a mandatory condition for farmers receiving EU subsidies. Stakeholders wishing to support this position are invited to contact ESPP.

European Commission presentation of FaST (Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients)

ESPP organised a one day dialogue meeting between scientists, stakeholders and ESPP members and partners on questions around the use of sewage biosolids in agriculture. This will be presented in detail in a future SCOPE Newsletter. In conclusion, it is clear that different stakeholders, industries and countries have widely varying positions. On the one hand, there are concerns about the proven presence of different contaminants, which the “precautionary principle” suggests to not disseminate. However, there seems to be no evidence that these contaminants pose significant risk to health or to the environment where sewage biosolids are appropriately managed (this should include monitoring zinc and copper, and limiting spreading as a function of their levels if necessary). Accumulation of contaminants or leaching to groundwater should also be avoided, including heavy metals, organic contaminants and microplastics. On the other hand, agricultural valorisation of sewage biosolids offers benefits: recycling of phosphorus, nitrogen and other nutrients; return of carbon to soil, and is cost-effective for both taxpayers and farmers.

Technical phosphorus recovery processes enable recycling of phosphorus without release of contaminants to the environment, so ensuring depollution and safety. Most participants however agreed that there is no one best solution: different options for sewage biosolids management fit different local contexts. Thermal valorisation responds to the needs of regions with low agricultural demand, for example densely urban areas and regions with significant supply of animal manures. In countries with high agricultural demand, farmland application of biosolids under strict quality control conditions can enable nutrient and organic carbon recycling.

Anaerobic digestion of sewage biosolids is effective for energy recovery, as well as sanitising and stabilising sewage sludge, and some phosphorus recovery processes, such as struvite precipitation, are compatible with both thermal sludge valorisation or agronomic application of biosolids organic content. Many of the contaminants which currently generate concerns in sewage sludge are also found in animal manures and other organic secondary materials (in particular pharmaceuticals and antibiotic resistance genes). Further research and monitoring are strongly needed, including into improving organic contaminants removal in biosolids treatment, optimisation of energy recovery, and development and implementation of nutrient recovery processes. In all cases, the priority should be reduction at source and preventing that contaminants enter municipal sewage.

It was underlined that a strong point of ESPP is to bring together in dialogue a heterogeneous range of industries and stakeholders. ESPP should not promote a particular route or technologies for sewage biosolids management and phosphorus recycling, but should promote the advantages of different approaches appropriate to different regional contexts, subject in all cases to quality control, transparency and to effective nutrient recycling.

Meeting presentation slides are available (soon) at

The European Standards Organisation (CEN/CENELEC) has circulated the final report of the NEN/BTWG11 working group into standards needs for sustainable chemicals for the Circular Economy. ESPP has followed this work. Although nutrients are partly ‘excluded’ because already covered by the new EU Fertilisers Regulation proposal, the report does cover cycling of biomass by recycling or by degradation to produce nutrients to feed new biomass production. Recommendations for standards needs include the need to develop “Standardised methodology for calculating recycled content” (following proposal of ESPP amongst others) and a “Standard with criteria on properties of relevance for End-of-Waste, such as thresholds of contaminants”. Other recommendations include research into identification of product additives which hamper recycling and establishment at CEN/CENELEC of a mechanism to identify standards that exclude recycled materials. ESPP commented during the report development process that Critical Raw Materials are not well taken into account, but CEN considered this to be “out of scope” of this report. CEN however notes that the Ecodesign Mandate M/543 includes two relevant standards projects: prEN 45557 ‘General method for assessing the proportion of recycled material content in energy related products’ and prEN 45558 ‘General method to declare the use of critical raw materials in energy related products’. ESPP regrets that CEN did not finally recommend to widen the latter to other product types. Also, prEN 45558 only addresses the content of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) actually present in products, and does not consider ‘indirect’ CRM consumption (used upstream in the production chain, but not longer present in the final product).

CEN prEN 45557 and prEN 45558 proposals of 2017 submitted to final vote 28/12/2018 Draft texts available here and here
CEN-CLC/BTWG 11 'Sustainable Chemicals'

The trilogue agreement on the EU Fertilisers Regulation was approved by Member States’ representatives in Council on 12th December. It now goes to formal validation by the European Parliament and Council, before publication. ESPP understands that trilogue fixed then a three year implementation period before entry into force. The European Commission press release underlines that ‘national’ fertilisers and mutual recognition of these will continue after implementation of the new Regulation, so offering two different possible routes for producers and farmers. The Commission estimate that 30% of mineral phosphate fertilisers in Europe could be replaced by phosphorus recycling. According to our information, the agreement reached maintains the Commission mandate to modify the annexes of the new Regulation by ‘comitology’. This means that the STRUBIAS materials (recovered phosphate salts, ash based materials, biochars) can be added into the Regulation rapidly after its adoption. The JRC final STRUBIAS report proposing criteria is expected end 2018, then the Commission will hopefully rapidly consult Committees and write into a modification of Annex II (CMCs).

European Commission press release “Circular Economy: Agreement on Commission proposal to boost the use of organic and waste-based fertilisers” IP/18/6161
Council press release

Text of regulation with changes, as agreed in trilogue

ESPP’s annual General Assembly took place in Brussels, 4th December 2018. Membership of the Platform is slowly growing, reaching 44 members and partners end 2018. Important actions in 2018 included ongoing work pressing for adoption of the EU Fertilisers Regulation, the 3rd European Sustainable Phosphorus Conference (ESPC3, with BSAG, Helsinki, June 2018, summarised in SCOPE Newsletter n°127), promoting inclusion of nutrients in the Horizon Europe R&D programme and enhancement of ESPP’s role as a hub of information, with the SCOPE Newsletter n°128 summarising key recent science publications addressing phosphorus sustainability. Priority actions defined for 2019 include: continuing action on the EU Fertilisers Regulation (guide to implementation, accompanying standards, implementation of STRUBIAS proposals …), EU SafeManure project, Common Agricultural Policy (FaST Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients), EU water policy revision, struvite REACH dossier update and Sweden proposed P-recycling legislation. ESPP’s Board was renewed with Ludwig Hermann (Promann), President, Anders Nättorp (FHNW), Secretary, Jean-Christophe Ades (Kemira), Secretary, Andrea Gysin (Thames Water), Antoine Hoxha (Fertilizers Europe) and Kristy Blakeborough-Wesson (Saria).

More information about ESPP activities and membership

ESPP submitted comments to two EU public consultations on Roadmaps for future evaluations of (1) the second “Environmental Implementation review” and (2) the impacts of EU farm policy on water, both closed on 26th November 2018. ESPP’s input underlined the importance of European Commission compliance enforcement of EU regulation in driving environmental improvement across Europe, for example for municipal wastewater treatment or for the Nitrates Directive, and suggested to widen the environmental implementation review to include pharmaceuticals, microplastics, the Circular Economy and Critical Raw Materials, as well as the Common Agricultural Policy. Concerning the assessment of farm policy on water, ESPP underlined the need to consult stakeholders (such as water basin management organisations), to consider key elements of the new (June 2018) CAP proposals (in particular the FaST = Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients) and coherence with CAP impacts on other policy objectives (such as Circular Economy) and impacts on water of Rural Development Funding.

ESPP inputs to EU consultations are published at:

Proposed Evaluation Roadmap “Evaluation of the impact of the CAP on water”

EU public consultation on the proposal for “Environmental Implementation Review” 

EU Environmental Implementation Review webpage and 2017 first report

Newsletter about nutrient stewardship - European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP).

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Upcoming ESPP events
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Past ESPP events
Outcomes 3rd European Nutrient Event at ECOMONDO 2018
Swiss phosphorus recovery / recycled fertilisers ordonnances published
EU Fertilisers Regulation: political agreement signs way to adoption
Study shows wide variation of agricultural phosphorus regulation in Europe
Phosphorus recovery by struvite precipitation considered as BAT
Food and drink environmental footprinting
EU consultations
EU consultation open on water policy
ESPP input on CAP – water and environmental implementation review
Phoshorus recovery fact sheets
Innovation and success stories
ExtraPhos process with cement valorisation conform to German P-recovery obligation
Vermont “Phosphorus Innovation Challenge” finalists named
Newfert BBI-JU project final meeting
Questions around sewage biosolids
Pharmaceuticals elimination and struvite recovery from sewage
Comparative LCAs for mineral fertilisers, recycling, sewage sludge
Greenhouse emissions from different sewage sludge valorisation routes
UBA report: antibiotics and resistance in sewage sludge and manure
ESPP Members
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Under the Austria Presidency, a political agreement was reached on 20th November on the EU Fertilisers Regulation (between Council = Member States, European Parliament and the European Commission), after nearly a year of ‘trilogue’. This in particular includes the question of cadmium limits, which has been the principle political blockage: the proposed initial cadmium limit of 60 mgCd/kgP2O5 will apply three years after entry into force of the new Regulation, and a review will then consider whether or not lower limits should be applied seven years later. Member States will be able to apply lower cadmium limits if they so wish. Final technical wording issues are expected to now be discussed before the end of the year, and the compromise proposal then will go the Member States Ambassadors and the Parliament IMCO Committee and then the Parliament Plenary and Member States Ministers for final approval. Ahead of the final trilogue meeting on 20th November, the joint letter coordinated by ESPP supporting the Regulation adoption was signed by over 100 companies and other stakeholders, underlining the importance of the EU Fertilisers Regulation to open the European market, remove obstacles and facilitate investment in circular economy nutrient products and recycling technologies.
Fertilizers Europe welcomed the Regulation progress as “balanced”, considering the short implementation delay for the cadmium limit to be a challenge, welcoming the announced inclusion of industrial by-products and the opening of the CE mark to organic fertilisers and biostimulants, but regretting that the low minimum nutrient levels in the Regulation will not ensure quality products.
Growing Media Europe, despite supporting the objective of opening the European market, regret that the new Regulation as currently proposed will exclude nearly all growing media products because of unrealistic Conformity Assessment requirements, and underline that the new Regulation does not include quality standards on agronomic efficiency.

European Parliament press release 20/11/18 “Fertilisers/cadmium: Parliament and Council negotiators reach provisional deal”

Fertilizers Europe 20/11/18 “New Fertilizer Regulation – acceptable compromise but challenges remain”

Growing Media Europe, 20/11/18 “New EU Fertilisers Regulation - Missed opportunity for the growing media industry?”

The 3rd European Nutrient Event (ENE3), 8 - 9 November 2018, Rimini, was jointly organised by the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP) and EU Horizon2020 funded SMART-Plant project. The presentations, final programme, list of key speakers of the event can be downloaded here. The event  was focussed on the theme “towards the circular economy of phosphorous (P) and other nutrients”, in Italy, the Mediterranean region and the EU, including research, development and innovation. Day 1 focussed on phosphorus and nutrient recycling in Italy and the Mediterranean region and the start up of the Italian Phosphorus Platform. It included presentations by the Italian Ministry of Environment and Protection of Land and Sea, ESPP, European Commission DG RTD, key Italian institutes, EurEau, ISLE Utilities, OSTARA, CNP Cycles, Veolia, Suez, EasyMining, Outotec, Aqualia, Assofertilizzanti, Confagricoltura, ITALPOLLINA, Lombardy Region and CAP Holding. Day 2 was focussed on new nutrient recycling R&D projects, updates on current major projects, nutrient management in Horizon Europe and the potential “Mission on Nutrients”. It included presentations by the European Commission DG RTD and EASME, and R&D project presentations by Horizon2020 funded projects Circular Agronomics, HYDROUSA, INCOVER, PeGaSus, P-Al/Fe-WTR, Run4Life, SABANA, SaltGae, SYSTEMIC, Water2Return; INTERREG funded projects BEST, No_Waste, NuReDrain, SEABASED; LIFE funded projects DOP, MEMORY, Newbies, Trialkyl, Vitisom; amd other funded projects BiofuelcellAPP, HTC, MIND-P, PARFORCE, RAVITA and ViviMag. The full report will be be published soon.

All information and outcomes of the event can be found at

An overview of R&D activities by ESPP including a full description of the research projects and more information about the potential Mission on Nutrients can be found at

The Mission on Nutrients will be further discussed during the European Sustainable Nutrient Initiative (ESNI) event, 22 January 2019, Brussels,

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environment Management (CIWEM, United Kingdom) organised a workshop of industry, experts and regulators to input to the Institute’s Policy Position Statement on valorisation of sewage biosolids (currently being redefined), London, 3rd March 2018. ESPP was invited to give a presentation to summarise developments in Europe, and outlined the Germany and Switzerland regulations and Baltic HELCOM policies requiring phosphorus recycling from sewage, pressures on agricultural use of sewage biosolids (e.g. announced public enquiry in Sweden – ESPP eNews n°24, Global GAP food industry criteria excluding use of sewage biosolids on cropland …) and current proposals regarding sewage biosolids in the EU Fertilisers Regulation proposal (expected to be excluded from composts, digestates, biochars, but authorised for precipitated phosphate salts and ash-based recycling). Discussion in the group noted that concerns about non-biodegradable polymers used in sludge dewatering could prevent sewage biosolids application to land (e.g. new German regulations). The discussion noted that nearly half of sewage sludge biosolids in Europe are today recycled via use on lands, and similarly in the USA (60%), Australia (nearly 60%) and China (nearly 50%). The UK has one of the highest rates of use on farmland (80% of sewage biosolids), which poses operational risks (for the water industry) and cost risks (for the consumer) if this route were to be stopped. Sludge biosolids are estimated by David Tomkins (AquaEnviro) to represent around 17% of total phosphorus input to UK agriculture. Sludge biosolids recycling to land has changed considerably over recent decades, and today is mostly as stable, solid, storable composts or digestates. Participants considered that biosolids use on cropland is recognised as safe for the food chain, but that there are questions about possible impacts of organic contaminants (such as pharmaceuticals) or micro-plastics on soils and the environment, and these need to be addressed. The energy value of sewage sludge was emphasised, and the options today available for energy valorisation (high energy-efficiency incineration, hydrothermal gasification). Questions were asked about the return of carbon to agricultural soils in sludge biosolids: is this significant given the application rates (limited by crop nutrient requirements). Participants suggested that the positive values of sewage sludge as an energy, carbon and nutrient resource should be emphasised, underlining the need for appropriate valorisation routes and technologies, for different local contexts.

CIWEM Wastewater and Biosolids Panel
ESPP presentation at CIWEM workshop

ESPP input to the European Commission public consultation on the evaluation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWT) 1991/271/EEC suggesting that the explicit, command-and-control, treatment requirements and discharge limits fixed by this Directive (and by the Nitrates Directive) should be maintained as key “backstops”  within the more holistic and ambitious Water Framework Directive. ESPP noted that the UWWT Directive has led to large improvements in sewage collection and treatment in many Member States, often following EU verification and infringement procedures. Nonetheless, phosphorus losses to waters remain a major environmental challenge across Europe, and this will be accentuated with climate change. Further action will be needed, including in some cases lower phosphorus discharge consents for sewage works. ESPP underlined the potential for flexible permitting, e.g. catchment nutrient discharge trading systems, to achieve phosphorus loss reductions cost-effectively. ESPP noted the need to clarify the UWWT Directive definitions of “agglomeration”, of “appropriate treatment” (smaller sewage works) and of “sensitive areas” (take into account climate change). ESPP also emphasised that the UWWT Directive’s scope should be widened to ensure appropriate management of sewage sludge and valorisation, including nutrient recovery or recycling and valorisation of organic carbon.

ESPP input to the EU public consultation on the “Evaluation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive”, 19th October 2018
Note that a further EU consultation “Fitness Check of the Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive” is open to 4th March 2019 at

Some fifty companies (fertiliser industry, compost producers, water industry, recycling sector) and other stakeholders have sent a joint letter to EU decision makers underlining the importance of the proposed new EU Fertilisers Regulation for the Circular Economy and to open the European market for nutrient recycling technologies. They ask Council, Parliament and the Commission to resolve the current blockage in ‘trilogue’ and to finalise and adopt the proposed Regulation. This letter is open for further signatures, with the objective of 100 signatory companies and stakeholders. Companies and organisations wishing to join the signatories on this Joint Letter should send by 16th November company name, name and email of signatory contact and logo (all as to be included on the letter) to .

Joint letter dated 15th October 2018, with signatories to date can be found at  

Newsletter about nutrient stewardship - European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP).

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Upcoming ESPP events
EU Fertilisers Regulation
Joint letter in support of the EU Fertilisers Regulation proposal
EU Fertilisers Regulation – STRUBIAS
New study on cadmium in fertilisers
New York Times calls fertiliser cadmium debate “Russian intrigue”
JRC meta-analysis of recycled phosphate fertilisers
New ESPP members
RAPSODEE research centre, Albi, France
Fertieuropa complex fertilisers, Spain
EU consultations
Impact of Common Agricultural Policy on water
Environmental implementation challenges
Struvite recovery in new BAT for Food, Drink and Milk industries
New EU BAT BREF for Waste Treatment
ESPP contribution on Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive
New EU Bioeconomy strategy emphasises Circular Economy
Valorisation routes for sewage biosolids
CIWEM working meeting on sewage biosolids
European Parliament and Council discuss increased transparency on sewage sludge
Success stories and actions
Paris – OCAPI: prize awarded for urine recycling to fertiliser
Ohio: sewage sludge ash used as fertiliser
INGELIA  biorefinery: bio-coal and bio-fertiliser from organics and sewage sludge
Slurry acidification update
Phosphorus and the food system
“Safe Operating Space” for livestock production in Europe
FReSH: business partnership for a sustainable food system
The food system and Planetary Boundaries
Estimates of raw phosphorus consumption for different diets
ESPP Members
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