On 29 July 2011, the Commission adopted Implementing Decision 2011/489/EU, allowing Belgium to authorise in the region of Flanders, under certain conditions, the application of up to 250 kg nitrogen per hectare per year from livestock manure on parcels cultivated with grassland and maize undersown with grassland, with cut grassland followed by maize and with cut rye followed by maize and up to 200 kg nitrogen per hectare per year from livestock manure on parcels cultivated with winter wheat and triticale followed by a catch crop and with sugar or fodder beets.
The derogation granted by Implementing Decision 2011/489/EU concerned approximately 2 970 farmers and 82 820 ha of land and expired on 31 December 2014.
On 7 April 2015, Belgium submitted to the Commission a request for renewal of the derogation under the third subparagraph of point 2 of Annex III to Directive 91/676/EEC with regard to the region of Flanders.
The data reported by Belgium concerning the region of Flanders for the period 2008 to 2011 show an increase of 4,4 % in pig numbers as compared to the period 2004 to 2007. The latest available numbers for 2012 and 2013 show a more moderate increase in pig numbers of 2,6 %. The numbers of poultry show a decrease of 13,2 % from 2004 to 2008, followed by an increase of 20,8 %. The numbers of cattle remained stable. In order to avoid that the application of the requested derogation leads to intensification of livestock rearing, the competent authorities will ensure the limitation of the number of livestock which can be kept in each farm (nutrient emission rights) in the region of Flanders according to the provisions set out in the Manure Decree.
Nitrogen use from livestock manure in the period 2008-2011 showed a decrease of 15 % as compared to the period 2004 to 2007. During the third action programme (2007 to 2010) nitrogen use from livestock manure stagnated at about 101 000 tonnes per year. During the fourth action programme a further decline in nitrogen use from livestock manure was observed, with a value of 94 500 tonnes in 2013. During the reporting period 2008 to 2011, the use of mineral nitrogen showed an increase of 4 % as compared to the period 2004 to 2007. The latest available data for 2012 and 2013 show that mineral nitrogen use is stabilising at 39 000 tonnes.
After examination of the request it can be considered that the proposed amounts of respectively 250 and 200 kg per hectare per year of nitrogen from grazing livestock manure and treated pig manure, will not prejudice the achievement of the objectives of Directive 91/676/EEC, subject to certain strict conditions being met which apply in addition to the reinforced measures taken in the action programme for the period 2015 to 2018.
This Decision shall expire on 31 December 2018.
Tuesday September 8, 2015/ OJEU/ European Union.