Report on animal manure management in the Baltic Sea region


This report on animal manure management in the Baltic Region aims

  • to screen differences in national manure management regulations/legislation
  • to address the need for developing common and harmonized regulations, guidelines and rules for efficient use of manure, with a view to minimize overfertilization in the Baltic Sea Region,  and
  • to support equal competitiveness in the sector.

The report also show problems, challenges and opportunities of animal fertilizers management from different countries’ perspective, underlining different approaches to the issue in different parts of the Baltic Sea region (BSR). Additionally, an overview of good national examples illustrated applicability of best practices.

Industrial animal farming is becoming a trend both globally, as well as regionally within the BSR, with constantly growing numbers and production capacity of facilities for intensive rearing of cattle, poultry and pigs. Without well-developed and implemented manure management practices such facilities may pose significant threat to the Baltic Sea. This has been pointed out by CCB in a series of reports addressing Industrial Animal Farming within BSR, and in consecutive submissions of relevant proposals to regional (HELCOM) and EU (European Commission) environmental policy-making bodies.

One of the observed differences in national manure management is related to approaches in EU and non-EU countries, where the latter is represented here by Belarus which still follows rather outdated practices and schemes. However, even within EU countries, implementation and interpretation of manure management requirements stemming e.g. from EU Water Framework Directive, Nitrates Directive, Industrial Emissions Directive, etc. varies from country to country. Differences are partly connected to differences in national designation of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ), where stricter requirements should be applied. In cases where the whole country is designated as NVZ (Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Finland), the stricter regulations apply to the entire national territory, which creates a competitive disadvantage for farmers in those countries in comparison to their neighbours.

Taking into account regional differences within the Baltic Sea region, implementation of common manure management requirements stemming from HELCOM BSAP (2007) and its follow-up (Ministerial Declarations from 2010 and 2013) becomes even more vital and actual. These include both legally-binding provisions of the revised part II of Annex III of the Helsinki Convention (1992), as well as a voluntary “Palette” of measures for reducing phosphorus and nitrogen losses from agriculture (also updated in 2013).

In general, environmental education and public awareness on potential environmental impacts of mismanagement of manure resources as well as opportunities resulting from utilisation of its nutrient value is very important and should be supported at all levels. CCB will continue its work to advocate the following recommendations:

  • at policy level – to follow up on the agreed international agreements and commitments
  • at farm level – to promote and help in implementing those commitments
  • at community level – to raise awareness on the need for sustainable agriculture within the Baltic Sea Region

River Basin and Wastewater Management, Water protection in Agriculture