Judgment of the Administrative Court of Braunschweig on admissibility of biodiversity areas

Date: 10 September 2019

The BVL has recently published the judgment of the Administrative Court of Braunschweig on the admissibility of biodiversity areas:

"The Administrative Court of Braunschweig allowed the claim of two pesticide manufacturers on September 4. The manufacturers had complained that their pesticides were only approved by the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) until 31 December 2019.

Normally, the BVL sets the duration of the authorisation to be valid for the duration of the approval of the active substance plus one year. The reason for the shortened expiry date for the authorisation in the two cases mentioned above were the controversial application requirements for biodiversity protection required by the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) from 2020 onwards.

The judgments now oblige the BVL to grant authorisations for the mentioned plant protection products beyond the previous expiry date of the registration on 31 December 2019.

Furthermore, according to the judgments, the approval must be extended with its current content and not be provided with the application provisions for biodiversity requested by the Federal Environmental Agency.

The Administrative Court justifies this decision by stating that it is currently not possible to take into account unacceptable effects on biodiversity, as there is a lack of scientific methods approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for assessing these effects. Also, neither Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 nor the Plant Protection Act would provide a legal basis for the adoption of compensation areas.”

To read the original publication in German, please follow the link to the BVL website.

Efficacy claims against snails in Germany only to be made against real problem organisms

Date: 29 August 2019

In the last year´s applicants of molluscicidal products in Germany repeatedly applied for use against different snail species and not only the well-known problem slug species from the genera Arion and Deroceras. The evaluating Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI) speculates that the efficacy claims against these snail species could have been made to serve as unique selling points for a better commercialization of the products. In the JKI “Journal of cultivated plants” (ISSN 1867-0911, DOI:10.5073/JFK.2019.06.05) Jörn Lemhus, efficacy evaluator for field crops at JKI, published an article “Nicht jede Schnecke verursacht Schäden! (Not every snail causes damage!)" in which he presents the position of JKI as summarized in the following.

Legal assessment claims German UBA´s biodiversity use restrictions (Biodiversitätsflächenauflagen) to be without legal basis

Date: 27 August 2019

In November 2018, German UBA started to give consent to some herbicide and insecticide applications under the precondition that the farmer using that pesticide runs at least 10% of his arable land as so called biodiversity area: fallow land, flower strips or sparse seed, areas on which no pesticide applications may be made. The biodiversity use restrictions are based on a legal assessment that had been issued on behalf of UBA in 2017 (UBA Texte 101/2017). At present several law cases against the biodiversity use restrictions are pending at the administrative court in Braunschweig. Depending on the outcome of these law cases, the provisions of UBA may have to be followed after 1 January 2020.

Now the summary of an extensive legal assessment, originally written on behalf of a pesticide producer: „Biodiversitätsflächenauflagen im pflanzenschutzrechtlichen Zulassungsverfahren – Eine initiative ohne Rechtsgrundlage” (Biodiversity use restrictions in pesticide registration procedures – An initiative without legal basis) was published by Hans-Georg Kamann in Zeitschrift für Stoffrecht (StoffR 2/2019). 

Plant biostimulants under the new EU Fertiliser Product Regulation

Date: 1 August 2019

The new Fertiliser Product Regulation (FPR) 2019/1009 was published on 15 June 2019 and will fully apply from 16 July 2022. It defines plant biostimulants1 as products “stimulating plant nutrition processes independently of the product’s nutrient content with the sole aim of improving one or more of the following characteristics of the plant or the plant rhizosphere:
(a) nutrient use efficiency;
(b) tolerance to abiotic stress;
(c) quality traits;
(d) availability of confined nutrients in soil or rhizosphere”.


1 Article 47 of Regulation 2019/1009 amending Article 3 of Regulation 1107/2009

New EU Fertilising Products Regulation (FPR)

Date: 28 June 2019

The new EU regulation on the framework for the bringing onto the market of organic and inorganic fertilisers, liming materials, soil improvers, growing media, inhibitors and biostimulants, the Fertilising Products Regulation (FPR) 2019/1009, was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 25 June 2019.
FPR establishes a completely new, harmonised framework which will allow for bringing onto the market not only inorganic fertilisers, as the previous Regulation 2003/2003, but also organic fertiliser products and biostimulants. After many years of discussions and negotiations, EU now has a legally binding definition for biostimulants available, i.e. “plant biostimulant means a product stimulating plant nutrition processes independently of the product’s nutrient content with the sole aim of improving one or more of the following characteristics of the plant or the plant rhizosphere: (a) nutrient use efficiency; (b) tolerance to abiotic stress; (c) quality traits; (d) availability of confined nutrients in soil or rhizosphere.”
Based on this definition, respective amendments to Regulation 1107/2009 are also already established to distinguish between biostimulant and plant protection uses. If this regulatory approach will be sufficient for the many borderline cases between abiotic and biotic plant stress especially for biological substances remains to be seen.
The FPR will enter into force on 15 July 2019 and shall fully apply from 16 July 2022.

Europe’s political and legislative framework on pesticides – slow move towards sustainability

Date: 24 June 2019

Regulations within the EU have focused on chemical pesticides and the move towards sustainable and low-risk solutions has been at a slow pace. Dr Lars Huber, SCC's Head of Biorationals, Fertilisers and IPM, traces in his article for Agrow's Biologicals 2019 the evolution of EU regulations and the gradual move towards sustainability. Read the article