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Network for Organic Resources and Biological Treatment
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ECN E-BULLETIN No. 12_2023
14 december 2023
European Parliament | Soil Monitoring Law

ENVI and AGRI Committees share draft amendments to the Soil Law proposal

Lawmakers are working at committee level to prepare a draft legal text to be voted in plenary in 2024. The ENVI rapporteur, MEP Hojsik has published its draft report, while MEP Noichl, designated rapporteur for opinion in the AGRI Committee, has released her own assessment.
The main revisions in the ENVI report consist of the inclusion of a binding 2050 target, with the possibility of adding intermediate ones if needed; while the soil health classification is based on soil ecological status, with five different categories. Other amendments focus on the optional set up of district plans, the reduction of the period to define sustainable management practices and a digital toolbox for the exchange of best cases. More ambitious provisions are foreseen on soil contamination and remediation of contaminated sites, adding to the monitoring framework more substances of concern and pollutants.
Shadow rapporteurs and other MEPs of COMENVI have made available their amendments to the proposal (see part
1, 2, 3, 4), with a clear distinction between those who want to slash the already mild ambitions of the Soil Directive, and those who are trying to strengthen the scope and the objectives.
In the COMAGRI, the draft opinion is a clear upgrade in ambitions, setting intermediate and long-term targets and fostering the role played by organic matter and soil biodiversity in soil health. The binary approach proposed by the Commission on the assessment of soil health has been so far maintained, while discussions in the Committee are still ongoing.
European Commission | Nitrates Directive

EU Commission opens feedback period preceding the evaluation of the Nitrates Directive

Despite rules protecting water quality from nitrates pollution occurring in agriculture, this still remains a pressing issue. This is why the Commission has published an initiative to hear views from stakeholders on the subject.
The future evaluation will assess how effective rules have proven so far in preventing and reducing the damage occurred to waters’ chemical status caused by nutrient pollution from agricultural sources. DG ENV will assess if the current legislation is still fit for purpose and in line with the EU environmental and climate ambitions. The call for evidence to share any relevant information will remain open until 8 March 2024.
EU Council| Belgian Presidency

Belgium to assume Council Presidency under the motto “protect, strengthen, prepare”

The Belgian Presidency will take office on January 1st 2024, focusing on defending the rule of law and democratic values, on strengthening EU competitiveness and assertive openness, on pursuing a green and just transition.
Concerning its environmental agenda, the Presidency will finalise interinstitutional negotiations on the proposal for a Union certification framework for carbon removals as well as advance trilogues on other critical files, including the proposed Regulation on Packaging and Packaging Waste and the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. It will also work on the revision of the Waste Framework Directive and make negotiating progress on the Soil Monitoring Law.Furthermore, the Belgian Presidency will foster dialogue about the future of the transition to a circular economy, including ways to enhance sustainable resource management and further reduce the material footprint of European consumption and production.
Full presidential programme here!
European Joint Soil Programme I Carbon farming

Introduction to the concept of Carbon farming, Carbon accounting and Carbon credits

In the framework of the EJP SOIL Programme, WP8 Science to Policy produced an informative video to introduce a general audience as well as stakeholders, policymakers, researchers and farmers to the complex concepts of Carbon farming, Carbon accounting and Carbon credits.
Answers to 4 Frequently Asked Questions:
  • What is Carbon farming?
  • What is soil Carbon accounting?
  • What is a Carbon credit?
  • Are Carbon credits effective against climate change?
Link to EJP Soil introduction video on Carbon Farming:
World Soil Day

Rewatch ECN Webinar on World Soil Day!

Europe’s New Soil Monitoring Law & Compost Effect On Soil Biodiversity.
The one-hour online event organised by ECN for the celebration of this year’s World Soil Day on 5 December, is now available on ECN’s Youtube channel. You will find presentations from Riccardo Gambini
– ECN policy officer – on the state of play of the EU Soil Monitoring Law, and from Dr. Sebastiano Nigris – researcher at the University of Padua – showing the results from his study on the effect of compost application on soil biodiversity. Furthermore, you can access the presentation slides by ECN's policy officer, Riccardo Gambini and ECN's executive director Dr. Stefanie Siebert here.
European Soil Mission Week (21-23 Nov. 2023)

Recordings and presentations available!

The European Mission Soil Week was organised by the European Commission DG AGRI together with the project PREPSOIL and the EU Soil Observatory (EUSO). The event was followed by 310 participants physically and 640 online. The European Mission Soil Week was a major gathering that brought together the European soil community:
researchers, policymakers, farmers, foresters, spatial planners, landowners and land managers, businesses, NGO organisations as well as the general public.
Download the presentations and the recordings here!
European Soil Mission I Manifesto

Please sign the EU Soil Mission Manifesto!

Life on Earth depends on healthy soils. To ensure a healthy and green future for our current and future generations, we need to protect and restore soils. The Mission Soil Manifesto calls for action to respond to the urgent need to protect and improve soil health in Europe and beyond and bring together regional and local policymakers, stakeholders and citizens into a vibrant community that cares for soil health.
The Mission Soil Manifesto was launched by the EU Mission Soil on 18 April 2023 and is available in all EU languages.
Workshop | ECN organises two-day event for its members and Life BioBest consortium

How to achieve high compost and digestate quality?

The workshop hosted in Brussels on 14-15th of November hosted experts of the Life BioBest project consortium as well as ECN members. It focused on advancing quality measures for the production of high-quality compost and digestate with particular attention to the quality of biowaste as input material for processing.
As a final outcome, participants discussed important quality parameters for input materials, standardised methods for input quality measurements as well as a potential update of the ECN-QAS for further parameters to assure the quality of compost and digestate. Therefore, we invited experts to present topics in relation to input and output quality criteria and measurements:
  • Maria Thelen-Jüngling (BGK) presented the German methodology for input quality analysis in relation to the update of the German Biowaste ordinance
  • Melanie Brait (KBVÖ) presented the legal framework for composting in Austria, recent updates under revision as well as the methodology of contaminant analyses in the input material
  • Maximilian Kanzler (Reterra) presented preliminary results of the ProBio project. These include a practical trial in a composting plant looking into the fate of impurities during the processing
  • Luís Campos Rodrigues (ENT) presented a study on the impact of improper materials in biowaste on the quality of compost in a Catalan case study
  • Wim vanden Auweele (Vlaco) presented a project on the treatment of food waste from supermarkets and industries through AD with a focus on packaging removal
The presentations and the minutes of the meeting were shared with the participants and the ECN TG members.

S.O.S Save Organics in Soil

This international initiative S.O.S. SOIL – Save Organics in Soil, led by the European Compost Network (ECN) and the Italian Composting and Biogas Association (CIC), aims to highlight the importance of soil organic matter to encourage policy makers to develop instruments to move Europe towards implementing sustainable, climate proof soil management practices.
Sign the manifesto 'Save Organigs in Soil' here.

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