Soils and Stones Project
This ongoing SocEnv project aims to expand the adoption of good practice across sectors and influence key decision-makers to implement policies which recognise the value of soils and stones.
Summary of the project
Since 2019, the SocEnv Soils and Stones project has brought together experts from across a diverse range of sectors. These include: regulation, water, construction, land development, resource management, forestry, engineering, and agricultural/land management.
The project has three key aims, bringing Chartered Environmentalists (and those pursuing the registration) together to lead the way and deliver change, through:
- Sharing good practice on soils use/re-use.
- Advocating for policies which recognise the value of these hugely valuable resources.
- Making connections and finding solutions via collaboration.
The project’s first key outcome was our Soils and Stones report (2021) which has been hugely well-received by decision-makers including DEFRA. Reflected in the EFRA Committee inviting us to give evidence to the Soil Health Inquiry on 7th March 2023.
Further output has included “The Ten Principles of Good Soils and Stones Management” – providing an overarching Soils and Stones framework as recommended in our report. The Ten Principles provide a clear, straightforward guide of how to protect, use and re-use these vital resources. Together, they provide a framework against which existing legislation and regulation can be reviewed and improved. We have also got our message across via articles in leading journals (see examples here and here) and presentations at key events.
Q4 2023 update
SocEnv evidence featured in EFRA soil health inquiry recommendations
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) soil health inquiry report has been published, making reference to SocEnv inquiry evidence, including our key asks.
Many of our headline asks are featured in the EFRA report, including calling for:
- soil health to be put on the same footing as water and air quality within government policy
- statutory targets on soil health, alongside the existing water and air quality targets, by 2028.
- the introduction, by 2035, of a regulatory framework to focus on preventing soil degradation and contamination across various sectors, including construction and planning, as well as agriculture.
Find out more via the link below.
World Soils Day article
For World Soils Day (5 December), our latest guest article was published on the vital topic: “the salinisation contamination of agricultural land”. Salinisation contamination is one of the major contributors to global soil degradation. Find out more with this piece from SocEnv Soils and Stones project member David Job MIAgrE – click the link below.
On the 3rd October we were delighted to hold the first in-person meeting of the project since pre-COVID times. The meeting, which took place in central Birmingham, provided an opportunity for project volunteers to reconnect in-person. It also allowed us to recap our progress, and map what partners are doing. All this helps us to determine the areas where the project can add most value and should focus on going forward. A huge thank you to all involved, including our host, Ramboll, and catering provided by CL:AIRE (Leading Sustainable Land Reuse).
You can find out more about what was discussed and outcomes via the briefing below.
Would you like to contribute to our project and collaborate with other experts?
Please note: the project is open to those with membership of an environmental related professional body. For example, one of our Licensed Members, or Institutions with a closely tied remit such as the British Society of Soil Science. Ideally volunteers should also hold Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) registration, though this isn’t essential. Indeed, involvement could support progression to CEnv registration through one’s respective professional body.
If you would like to express interest in getting involved, please get in touch with Sarah via the link below.
Image credit: © Christina Vartanova from Getty Images Pro via Canva.com