The UK's Soil Association has urgently called for government intervention to tackle the worsening condition of the nation's soil.
The appeal aligns with the release of a report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA), concluding its inquiry into soil health.
Key points from the article include:
Immediate Need for Soil Conservation: The Soil Association emphasises the critical necessity for actions to stop the degradation of UK soil, crucial for maintaining food production. The charity is also encouraging public involvement in World Soil Day to raise awareness about this issue.
Findings of the EFRA Inquiry: The EFRA report, examining ways the government could reverse soil degradation, has led to recommendations for governmental action. However, the Soil Association believes these recommendations lack the urgency needed to effectively tackle the crisis.
Impact of Soil Degradation: Since 1850, the UK has seen a significant loss of fertile topsoil, with current rates of erosion and loss posing a serious threat to the environment and economy. The Soil Association highlights that soil is an essential part of our ecosystem, supporting food production, housing a quarter of the Earth's species, and playing a crucial role in carbon storage.
Advocating for Changes in Farming Practices: Gareth Morgan, the Soil Association's head of farming policy, stresses the need for a swift shift to soil-centred farming systems. Decades of intensive farming have led to erosion and loss of soil organic matter, necessitating a move towards more sustainable and nature-friendly farming methods.
Economic and Environmental Costs: Soil erosion and degradation are not just environmental issues but also have significant economic implications. The loss of fertile soil is estimated to cost England and Wales around £1.2 billion annually.
World Soil Day and Public Engagement: The Soil Association is using World Soil Day to amplify its message and encourage public engagement. The day serves as a platform to highlight the importance of soil health in the broader context of climate change and environmental sustainability.
The Soil Association is advocating for stronger and more immediate government action to protect and restore UK soil. This includes implementing sustainable farming policies, encouraging the use of soil boosters, such as those offered by agritech innovators, SoilPoint, and introducing regulations to curb practices detrimental to soil health.
The charity's call to action underscores the vital role of soil in our ecosystem and the urgent need to address its current state of our soil crisis.