"UK fertiliser industry faces twin challenges of being in the EU and leaving it"

The UK fertiliser industry is striving to achieve the best regulatory environment while Britain remains within the European Union, whilst also looking forward to a post-Brexit era when the UK will set its own legislative framework, according to Howard Clark, Chairman of the Agricultural Industries Confederation's Fertiliser Sector.

Speaking at the Annual AIC Fertiliser Sector dinner at the Institute of Directors, London, Mr Clark reviewed the tortuous negotiations regarding the drafting of the new EU Fertilising materials regulations.

"I, and my predecessors, had hoped that this regulation would be innovative and fit for purpose in the modern world. Sadly, stricter limits on cadmium in phosphate have been adopted. Now, we will work to achieve a delay on introducing these limits to allow the industry time to adapt and comply.

"Another casualty has been the exclusion of a category for phosphite bio-stimulants at the eleventh hour. A disappointment for those seeking a regulatory framework that would allow cross border trade."

As a result, the option to retain UK fertiliser regulations will be vital if UK farmers and the agri-supply industry are to prosper under a common-sense approach.

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is another important issue as Brexit looms. "It is significant to indigenous production of nitrogen fertiliser, upon which our national food security is linked," said Mr Clark.

He called for UK Government to make suitable transitional arrangements working towards a more pragmatic approach once outside Europe. Fertiliser is a unique industry as energy not just a fuel, but also a feedstock.

As Brexit discussions continue, AIC will be working at national level to consolidate and revise the 1991 UK Fertilisers Regulations.

"Within two years, this could be our preferred governing legislation for the UK trade. AIC will work to ensure it is fit for purpose for today's industry," said Mr Clark.

"We will also work with Government to review the way in which environment quality can be achieved in innovative ways driven as much as possible by the industry performance over an approach held back by a tick box mentality."

In summary, Mr Clark concluded that Brexit would present an opportunity for AIC and its Members, outside the European Union, but not disengaged from it.

Source: Agricultural Industries Confederation

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