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The European Commission is developing a new EU Soil Strategy, which it will unveil in the coming months.

The strategy is itself, a central part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 (published in May 2020) and will contribute towards implementing its legally binding soil and biodiversity restoration targets which are yet to be set, but will be established by the end of 2021. 

The key aims of the new EU Soil Strategy are as follows:

  • To address soil and land related issues in a comprehensive way;
  • To help achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030 (a key target of the UN Sustainable Development Goals);
  • To protect soil fertility, reduce erosion and increase soil organic matter;
  • To identify contaminated sites, restore degraded soils and define the conditions for their good ecological status;
  • To improve the monitoring of soil quality.

ICOS has made a submission to the Commission’s public consultation on the strategy’s development, outlining the need for a balanced approach on environmental, social and economic considerations and the need to recognise the variable soil characteristics and uses across the EU, which must be taken into account when defining soil quality standards and the measures to address soil threats and restoration.

It asks the Commission to build on the positive developments already undertaken by the agricultural community and to facilitate actions and initiatives undertaken by farmers, co-operatives and the agricultural industry, including the sharing of best practices based on research and innovation, voluntary actions and collaborative partnerships.

The full ICOS submission can be found here

Alison Graham – European Affairs Executive