Costs of soil degradation in England and Wales estimated at £264 million annually
National environmental protection charity, Environmental Protection UK (EPUK), is calling on the UK Government to celebrate World Soil Day (Sunday 5th December 2010) by backing an important EU Framework Directive designed to enshrine the protection of soil within EU legislation.
Despite its fundamental importance to human, animal and plant health and its critical role as a store of carbon, soil is not adequately protected within EU legislation.
An important framework directive that would enshrine its protection is stalled in the EU policy making process because the UK Government, alongside Germany, France, Malta, Austria and the Netherlands, is blocking its adoption.
In addition to the significant environmental impacts of allowing healthy soil to degrade, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology estimates the costs of degradation of soil for agricultural purposes in England and Wales at £264 million a year.
James Grugeon, EPUK Chief Executive said: 'Protecting soil isn't a sexy environmental issue but tell people that 90 percent of the world's food is grown in soil but only 11 percent of our land surface is covered with healthy soil and that number is falling, and they get why it's important.'
'If we don't value and protect healthy soil we are storing up big problems for ourselves in the near future. Healthy soil is not only an important carbon store but it's also critical to securing our food future and conserving biodiversity. We must start to take soil and land use issues much more seriously and by supporting the EU Framework Directive the UK government can show they get it.'