Berlin In the struggle for better protection of groundwater in Germany, the German government has sent further proposals for sharper fertilizer regulations to the EU Commission. With the now presented improvements the Nitrateintrag should be further reduced, announced Ministry of Environment and Agriculture on Thursday evening in Berlin. Implementation would also be a duty of the Länder, such as the development of a monitoring and observation concept. The EU Commission will now examine the full catalog of measures.
The letter from the German government follows a visit by Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) and her colleague Julia Klöckner (CDU) to EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella at the end of August. He had called for further work and commitments. Berlin should send a complete response by the end of September.
The now sent, even further proposals include, according to the information, inter alia, longer periods of rest for fertilizing meadows and pastures in autumn and winter. On slopes should be prohibited on larger strips to waters fertilizers. It also proposes measures to reduce phosphate inputs into waters. In addition, a new timetable for amending the Fertilizer Ordinance was submitted.
The EU Commission had sued Germany for excessively high nitrate levels in groundwater and was granted a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 2018. Fertilizing with manure, for example, is a major cause of pollution. The verdict was still referring to older fertilizer regulations. But also the changes in 2017 only have to be tightened, otherwise ultimately could threaten high fines.
The Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU), which represents municipal waterworks, called for more efficient fertilization. The authorities would also need to be in a position to be able to review fertilizer restrictions, said VKU Vice President Karsten Specht the German Press Agency. Central to this is a nationwide and transparent observation system. This would also make calls for ever new exemptions unnecessary.
More: Nitrate in the water: Farmers have to adjust to reducing fertilizer.
(TagToTranslate) Fertilizer Rules (t) Groundwater (t) Nitrate (t) EU Commission (t) Svenja Schulze (t) Julia Klöckner (t) Karmenu Vella (t) European Court of Justice (t) ECJ