UK and Ireland Spill Association is a member of CL:AIRE who work with industry, through its membership, to identify common problems in the field of sustainable land management. It uses its extensive experience in developing industry-led initiatives and it works with highly respected experts and government to develop solutions that are tested and critiqued by our Members to ensure they are fit for purpose.

The importance of soil health in growing food, promoting biodiversity, and reducing carbon emissions will be investigated during a parliamentary inquiry. The soil in the UK has become heavily degraded over the years through over-use, erosion, compaction, or pollution. Arable land in the UK, which makes up over half of all the country’s farmland, is also heavily depleted of carbon. The inquiry, by the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will investigate how the Government intends to meet its goal of having all soil “managed sustainably” by 2030.

It is not currently clear how soil health will be measured by the Government. This will need to be clarified because of new legislation currently being rolled out which will encourage farmers to provide ‘public goods’ including healthy soil, among other environmental benefits, in return for farm payments from the Government.

Consequently CL:AIRE are consulting with its membership to seek views on the following questions:

  1. 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 and how can these barriers be overcome?
  2. Do current regulations ensure that all landowners/land managers maintain and/or improve soil health? If not, how should they be improved?
  3. Will the standards under Environmental Land Management schemes (ELMs) 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?
  4. 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?
  5. What does the UK Government need to do to tackle other stressors on soil health such as soil contamination?

The deadline for submissions is 5 February 2023.

People with experience in the areas covered by the inquiry are invited to submit written evidence. For advice on how to submit this and how the information is used, click here.