THE health of soils in the UK – and how it can be addressed – will be considered by a Parliamentary committee, it has been announced.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has launched an appeal for submissions to its inquiry and is keen to hear from people who can give relevant information on the issue.
A spokesperson for the committee said: “The health of soil in the UK – soils ability to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans – faces challenges from contamination, nutrient loss, erosion and compaction.
“The impact of this is likely to be significant through accelerating climate change, increasing the chance of flooding, reducing the productivity of farms and losing an important ecosystem for bacteria, fungi and invertebrates.
“The inquiry will look at why soil health continues to be a problem and consider how the UK Government can accelerate soil restoration in England.”
It has invited submissions on:
How can the Government measure progress towards its goal of making all soils sustainably managed by 2030? What are the challenges in gathering data to measure soil health how can these barriers be overcome?
Do current regulations ensure that all landowners/land managers maintain and/or improve soil health? If not, how should they be improved?
Will the standards under Environmental Land Management schemes have sufficient ambition and flexibility to restore soils across different types of agricultural land? What are the threats and opportunities for soil health as ELMs are introduced?
What changes do we need to see in the wider food and agriculture sector to encourage better soil management and how can the Government support this transition?
What does UK Government need to do to tackle other stressors on soil health such as soil contamination?
The deadline for submissions, that may cover some or all of the above points, is February 5, 2023.