By Jenny Brunton, Senior European Policy Advisor, British Agriculture Bureau.
The Strategy highlights the importance of soil for its various functions, such as hosting biodiversity, providing food and raw materials, serving as carbon pools as well as regulating the water, carbon and nutrient cycles. However, it also stresses that soils are suffering from degradation processes such as erosion, pollution and loss of biodiversity, which are the result of unsustainable land use and management, overexploitation and emission of pollutants.
The Strategy explains that the EU does not yet have an adequate legal framework to grant soil the same level of protection as water, the marine environment or air. To tackle this, the Commission plans to table a legislative proposal, Soil Health Law by 2023 to ensure that the objectives of the Strategy are met. The Commission will also mandate the Expert Group on Soil Protection to develop indicators for soil health and their range of values.
For a full briefing please contact Jenny Brunton ([email protected])
Soil conservation is at the heart of many farmers work and initiatives, regardless of the production methods; conventional or organic. At European level, a large set of EU policies are already directly and indirectly affecting soil health and are addressing the hazards associated with this highly precious natural resource. Among others, the CAP, the Water Framework Directive, the Nitrates Directive, the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive, and the Nature Directives are some examples. That is why, at this stage, Copa and Cogeca expect more clarification on how the inclusion of new measures, such as the Soil Health Law, will add to the already existing set of tools, providing comprehensive and concrete means of action for farmers and agri cooperatives. To be effective, the last thing that the EU farming community needs is a new administrative layer.