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News article3 June 2022Directorate-General for Environment

Nutrients: Commission seeks views on better management

Today, the Commission is launching a public consultation on an Integrated Nutrient Management Action Plan.The Action Plan, announced in the EU Biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies, will help achieve the European Green Deal’s 2030 target of reducing nutrient losses by 50%, while ensuring no deterioration in soil fertility. The objective is to reduce fertiliser use by at least 20%. Farmers, industries, NGOs, citizens and other interested parties are invited to share their views on this action plan via an online consultation that runs until 26 August 2022.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, said:

Nutrients are essential for life, yet the presence of excess nutrients in air, water and soil significantly affects public health, climate and the environment. This public consultation will help us to draw on the experience of farmers, industries, civil society organisations and citizens how to identify the main drivers of nutrient pollution and ways to address it as well as stimulate markets for recovered nutrients.

Nutrients continue to be lost along the entire food chain, with negative impacts on human health, environment and economy. In Europe, surplus nitrogen and phosphorus in the environment is already exceeding safe planetary boundaries. The presence of excess nutrients in air and water negatively affects human health, the environment and the economy. The overall environmental costs of all nutrient pollution in Europe are estimated at €70–€320 billion per year. The Integrated Nutrient Management Action Plan is a unique opportunity to consider nutrient cycles globally and provide a holistic and sustainable approach to nutrient management.

Background

In the EU, nutrient pollution has been tackled by environmental legislation since the 1990s, in particular through the Urban Waste Water Treatment and the Nitrates Directives. They have since been complemented by the Water Framework Directive, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the National Emission Reduction Commitments Directive, the Industrial Emissions Directive, as well as standards on emissions from transport and energy sectors.

Global availability of phosphorus is limited. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has increased the cost of chemical nitrogen fertilisers because natural gas is needed for their production. In the EU, animal manure, compost and sewage sludge have been applied as fertilizer but there are many other bio products rich in nutrients that could be better recycled. Closing the loop of the nutrient cycles is part of the concept of circular economy and the Integrated Nutrient Management Action Plan will aim to stimulate the markets for recovered nutrients.

For More Information

Public consultation available in all EU languages

Call for evidence available in all EU languages

Details

Publication date
3 June 2022
Author
Directorate-General for Environment

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