Healthy soils are essential for achieving climate neutrality, a clean and circular economy and stopping desertification and land degradation. They are also essential to reverse biodiversity loss, provide healthy food and safeguard human health.
The EU soil strategy for 2030 provides the framework and concrete steps towards protecting and restoring soils, and ensuring that they are used sustainably. As part of this, a new Soil Monitoring Law has been proposed to ensure a level playing field and a high level of environmental and health protection.
Over 60% of European soils are unhealthy and scientific evidence shows that soils are further degrading due to unsustainable management of the land, sealing, contamination and overexploitation, combined with the impact from climate change and extreme weather events.
Degraded soils reduce the provision of ecosystem services such as food, feed, fibre, timbre, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, pest control or water regulation. The loss of these essential soil ecosystem services costs the EU at least 50 billion euro per year.
The new law aims to address key soil threats in the EU, such as erosion, floods and landslides, loss of soil organic matter, salinisation, contamination, compaction, sealing, as well as loss of soil biodiversity.
The new Soil Monitoring Law provides a legal framework to help achieve healthy soils by 2050. It will do so by
- putting in place a solid and coherent monitoring framework for all soils across the EU so Member States can take measures to regenerate degraded soils
- making sustainable soil management the norm in the EU. Member States will have to define which practices should be implemented by soil managers and which should be banned because they cause soil degradation
- requesting Member States to identify potentially contaminated sites, investigate these sites and address unacceptable risks for human health and the environment, thereby contributing to a toxic-free environment by 2050.
Previous and upcoming actions:
- 5 July 2023Commission adopts proposal for a Soil Monitoring Law
- 1 August - 24 October 2022Public consultation on the possible Soil Monitoring Law
- 16 February - 16 March 2022Call for evidence ahead of upcoming possible legal provisions mentioned in the Soil Strategy
- 17 November 2021Commission adopts EU Soil Strategy for 2030
- EU soil strategy for 2030
- EU soil thematic strategy (2006)
- Circular economy action plan
- EU biodiversity strategy for 2030
- Zero pollution action plan
- Farm to fork strategy
- Forest strategy
- Nature restoration law
- Environmental Liability Directive
- Industrial Emissions Directive
- Environmental Impact Assessment Directive
- Sewage Sludge Directive
- Regulation on fertilisers
- Mercury Regulation
- Land use, land use change and forestry Regulation (LULUCF)
- Common Agriculture Policy (CAP)
- Proposal for a Regulation on a Forest Monitoring Framework
Other related links
For questions about EU environmental policy, please contact Europe Direct.