On World Soil Day, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee has released its report aimed at addressing the critical state of soil health in the UK. Soil, essential for life and food production, faces severe degradation in the UK due to overuse, erosion, and pollution. EFRA's report calls for immediate government action, stressing the need to treat soil health with the same seriousness as air and water quality.
The key recommendations of the report were:
- Statutory targets for soil health by 2028: The committee emphasised the need for agreement and clarity on how to measure and monitor soil health. Agreed upon indicators should then be used to set statutory targets aimed at improving soil health to bring it in line with the targets already in place for air and water.
- Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes as a tool for soil health: With agricultural activities covering 70% of England's land, ELM schemes are identified as the main vehicle for improving soil management. The EFRA Committee calls for increased accessibility and attractiveness to farmers, recommending a budget increase to reflect the environmental benefits they bring. It is recommended that government should aim for nearly all of agricultural land to be in an ELM scheme by 2040, guided by clear definitions of "sustainable soil management."
- A regulatory framework for soil health by 2035: The Committee reccomended that alongside the incentives for improving soil health, there should be an agreed upon regulatory framework aimed to prevent soil degradation and contamination across all sectors.
Will White, Sustainable Farming Coordinator at Sustain said:
"Our soils are not only the very foundation of our food system today, they are also a habitat for almost incomprehensible biodiversity. The report's sobering statistic - that soil waste makes up 58% of the UK's landfill content - speaks volumes about our current regard for this precious resource. We wholeheartedly endorse the call for an increased budget for Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes to pay farmers adequately for investing in the health of our soils."
The full report is available here
Published Tuesday 5 December 2023
Sustain: Sustain The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity.
Latest related news
New report calls on the Government to end the use of prophylactic use of antibiotics in farming
Monday 26 February 2024
US town is aiming to ban factory farms, with UK places urged to follow suit
Wednesday 31 January 2024
Government analysis shows stifled progress on emissions due to farmer uncertainty
Friday 26 January 2024
New RSPB report ‘Without Nature There Is No Food’ makes the case for eco food labelling
Thursday 11 January 2024
Support our charity
Donate to enhance the health and welfare of people, animals and the planet.