Proposals for Europe-wide End of Waste criteria appear to have been delayed by the Commission. This will provide welcome stability for UK operators who were concerned about the difficulty of meeting new criteria, which would have replaced PAS110. At very least, there will be longer to influence developments, and it will be longer until any transition needs to take place.
The decision has been taken at the top of the Commission, and it is not yet clear how they are likely to proceed. At present the entire proposal for a revised Fertiliser Directive is not proceeding, but elements such as draft End of Waste criteria could appear in a number of different places.
Over the past few years we have worked closely with Defra and the other waste trade associations to oppose the draft regulations and explain the impact they would have had on the UK industry. Many other European Member States remain in favour of harmonised digestate standards, so will be pushing the Commission to continue the process – we will obviously watch this closely and keep members informed.
Alongside this announcement, the European Biogas Association have said that they understand that digestate will soon be specifically exempt from EU REACH legislation on chemicals. Again this will be welcome news, as REACH could otherwise have been a significant administrative burden to producers of digestate. We will circulate any further update on this to members when we have it.