European Parliament members call for a EU common legal framework for the protection of soil

  • 7 juli 2021

Contrary to water and air, there is currently no coherent and integrated EU legal framework for protecting Europe’s soil. Measures on soil protection are fragmented among many policy instruments that lack coordination and which are often non-binding. A previous proposal to introduce a legal framework for soil protection in the EU was unsuccessful and was withdrawn in May 2014 by the Commission following years of blockage in the Council.

During the debate, members of the European Parliament stressed that effective soil protection is crucial to addressing land degradation and erosion, while preserving, protecting and improving the quality of the environment, human health and natural resources. In particular, better protection of soils is essential to achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal, such as climate neutrality, biodiversity restoration, zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment, healthy and sustainable food systems and a resilient environment.

With respect to CEC’s, the resolution calls the Commission to support research to bridge the knowledge gaps and appeals to close existing legislative gaps regarding the toxicity of biocides and veterinary products to soil and its organisms. Additionally, the resolution emphasizes the need for European limits on soil pollution from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS)s, based on the precautionary principle.

The resolution initiated by the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee was adopted on Wednesday April 28th 2021 with 605 votes in favour, 55 against and 41 abstentions.

The full text of the EU parliament resolution on soil protection can be found here.