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The Natural Capital Committee has issued a damning response to the government’s report on progress on the 25 Year Environment Plan, with a particular focus on soils. They highlight the lack of data on soils despite the ‘Healthy Soils’ headline indicator and absence of report on progress towards Defra’s own commitment of sustainably managed soils by 2030 and investment in soils metrics. They advise soils should be a priority outcome for spending within ELMs as a public good equal in importance to air, water and wildlife; and suggest the Nature for Climate Fund should go much further in scope, particularly in terms of peatland restoration. Full report here.
Researchers from Sheffield’s Institute of Sustainable Food have shared survey results from their project investigating the state of soil management in the UK. They found that some sustainability practices are becoming popular, but there is still a way to go in terms of changing whole land management systems. Farmers reported a lack of knowledge support and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.
The SSA joined 34 other environmental NGOs in a call for an immediate ban on the practice of burning upland peatland, to protect carbon stores and meet climate change targets – with a letter sent to MP Alok Sharma, President of COP26.
The RSPB have also released a public petition calling for an end to peat burning and the use of peat in horticulture. Add your voice here.
The fashion industry has long been destructive in terms of the health of soils globally, but increasingly measures are being taken to find ways that fashion can support soil health. This article outlines some initiatives and mechanisms, including the Savory Institute, Fibershed and the promotion of ‘soil-to-soil’ textile processes.
Some farmers have started preparing for the end of CAP subsidies and the switch to ELMs. Farmers Weekly highlights one Hampshire farm manager who is actively increasing the environmentally-beneficial aspects of his land with a primary focus on soil health and with help from LEAF’s Resilient & Ready programme.
Researchers in the US have received $1m in grant funding for two separate soil health projects. The US Dep’t of Agriculture’s Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources awarded the funds for research on use of biochar and management strategies for cover crops.