BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - Farmers are facing further changes to the fertilizer regulations for water protection. The coalition parties of the SPD, Greens and FDP agreed on a planned amendment to the fertilizer law, as they announced in Berlin on Friday. This should avert fines from the EU, give companies more planning security and protect resources. The cabinet had launched a draft by Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) in May 2023. The parliamentary groups have now agreed on amendments for a decision in the Bundestag.

Among other things, the law is intended to create a basis for checking and evaluating fertilizer data from farms. A "monitoring" is to determine how effective the fertilizer rules are. Julia Verlinden, deputy leader of the Green parliamentary group, said that this would ensure that farms that operate sustainably and protect water and soil would be relieved.

Carina Konrad, deputy leader of the FDP parliamentary group, said that they could be exempted from fertilizer requirements and restrictions if they could prove that they were not the cause of water pollution. Matthias Miersch, deputy leader of the SPD parliamentary group, spoke of a "good balance" between high protection standards and the interests of farmers in practical fertilizer regulations.

The background to this is Germany's long-running dispute with the EU Commission over excessive nitrate pollution in groundwater. Fertilizer regulations have recently been tightened on several occasions./sam/DP/men