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Environment

Soil and land

The EU aims to improve soil health for the benefit of people, food, nature and climate.

In the EU

95%
of our food comes from soil
60-70%
of soils are unhealthy
50 billion EUR
lost every year due to soil degradation

Objectives

To protect human health and the environment, the EU’s soil policy aims to improve soils by

  • taking measures and actions to protect and restore soils, and ensure that they are used sustainably
  • putting forward a vision to achieve healthy soils by 2050
  • improving the framework for soil monitoring in Europe
  • developing the knowledge base and supporting soil research
  • raising awareness about the vital importance of soils

Actions

Soil health

The EU will propose a new Soil Health Law to protect and restore soils and ensure that they are used sustainably.

International action

The EU works with partners worldwide to combat land and soil degradation and desertification.

Mission Soil

Find out more about funding for healthy soils by 2030.

EU Soil Observatory

Data platform to help monitor progress towards the European soil health objectives and targets.

Knowledge and data

Other sources of information on the soil and land, including reports, studies and funded projects.

Related links

Guidelines

Soil sealing is the covering of soil surfaces with materials such as concrete and asphalt, for new buildings, roads, parking places, as well as other public and private spaces. It is one of the main causes of soil degradation in the EU. It affects fertile agricultural land, puts biodiversity at risk, increases the risk of flooding and water scarcity and contributes to global warming.

The Commission has prepared a set of best practice guidelines (to be reviewed by 2024) to limit, mitigate or compensate soil sealing.

Related laws

At EU level, there is currently 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 greenhouse gas emissions, and preventing other environmental threats: 

Related strategies 

Related Commission priorities: European Green Deal

Contact

For questions about EU environmental policy, please contact Europe Direct.

Publications

  • Factsheet
  • Directorate-General for Environment

Soil strategy – factsheet

Healthy soils are essential for achieving climate neutrality, a clean and circular economy, reversing biodiversity loss, providing healthy food, safeguarding human health, and halting desertification and land degradation.

  • Strategic plan
  • Directorate-General for Environment

EU soil strategy for 2030

All documents - EU soil strategy for 2030.

  • General publications
  • Directorate-General for Environment

Healthy soil: What’s in it for you?

Soil is a fundamental natural resource that influences numerous policy areas. It is not only vital for a healthy environment but also essential to agriculture, and indeed the entire food sector.

News