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Commission consults on new EU Soil Strategy

Soils are essential ecosystems that deliver valuable services such as the provision of food, energy and raw materials, carbon sequestration, water purification and infiltration, nutrient regulation, pest control and recreation. Therefore, soil is crucial for fighting climate change, protecting human health, safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystems and ensuring food security. Healthy soils are a key enabler to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal such as climate neutrality, biodiversity restoration, zero pollution, healthy and sustainable food systems and a resilient environment.

Soil protection has not been subject to a specific legislative instrument at EU level. There is no binding overarching framework that strategically defines policy priorities or parameters for soil protection. Soil protection outcomes in the other laws are mostly derived as a consequence of delivering environmental objectives that are not explicitly soil focused, such as reducing contamination, offsetting GHG emissions, and preventing other environmental threats. The lack of a comprehensive and coherent policy framework to protect land and soil is a key gap that reduces the effectiveness of the existing incentives and measures and may limit Europe’s ability to achieve future objectives. Hence, a new policy framework is needed because the 2006 EU Soil Thematic Strategy is no longer adapted to the policy context of today and the improved scientific knowledge base, while there is a high risk that the EU will fail its Green Deal and international objectives.

In this context, the European Commission launched an online public consultation ( )  on the development of a new EU Soil Strategy. This is the last of a set of public consultations on different ecosystems delivering on the specific commitments in the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030.

The new Soil Strategy will provide the overarching framework and the concrete pathway towards achieving the following objectives:

  1. Step up efforts to protect soil fertility and reduce soil erosion
  2. Increase soil organic matter and restore carbon-rich ecosystems
  3. Protect and enhance soil biodiversity
  4. Reduce the rate of land take, urban sprawl and sealing to achieve no net land take by 2050
  5. Progress in identifying and remediating contaminated sites and address diffuse contamination
  6. Address the growing threat of desertification
  7. Achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030

These developments on the European Soil policy and regulatory framework, including contaminated land management, provide a unique opportunity for CERESiS project, that will ensure a solid regulatory background for the project’s expected solution and results, for integrated biofuel production pathways, through land decontamination / phytoremediation.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 101006717.