We are entering a critical window of opportunity for our nation’s soil health. Leaving the EU requires the UK government to develop a new and innovative national farming and environmental policy framework, meaning now more than ever they are open – indeed, dependent on third party advice and new ideas about how to realise their commitment to a green Brexit.
At the same time, the efforts of David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion and countless others means that awareness of – and concern about -environmental decline is now mainstream – leading to ambitious and impactful policy and behaviour change – in areas including air, water, plastic pollution and biodiversity.
In comparison with these critical environmental indicators, and despite its vital importance, soils are overlooked. There are numerous reasons for this: long-term under-investment in monitoring, enforcement and awareness raising, perceived complexity and the challenge of attracting public interest to a subject that is – for most of us at least – out of sight and so out of mind.
Another critical reason for soils neglect is that the community of individuals and organisations interested in soils is fragmented according to differing policy and scientific perspectives, leading to an absence of organisation and targeted, accessible expertise.
This is where we come in... We aim to overcome these obstacles and give soil the political, public and stakeholder attention it needs by acting as:
for the full community of individuals and organisations interested in sustainable soils to debate and discuss the principle political, scientific and economic topics and issues at stake.
for the wealth of relevant information – initiatives, research, opinion - generated by our affiliated members and third parties to improve understanding of both the policies and practicalities of sustainable soils.
monitoring the government’s progress in developing policies to match its environmental commitments, advising it on points of detail and direction and calling it to account when it falls short.
It is this approach that we hope will drive a step change in the political and public understanding and appreciation of soil in the UK – giving it the same status as air and water – thus leading to a reversal of land degradation and the restoration of soils to health within one generation.