Soil is generally defined as the top layer of the earth’s crust, formed by mineral particles, organic matter, water, air and living organisms. It is the interface between earth, air and water and hosts most of the biosphere
The strategy includes setting up a legislative framework for the protection and sustainable use of soil, integrating soil protection into national and EU policies, improving knowledge in this area and increasing public awareness.
The proposal for a Directive is a key component of the strategy, which enables Member States to adopt measures tailored to their local needs. It provides for measures to identify problems, prevent soil degradation and remediate polluted or degraded soil.
Risk prevention, mitigation and restoration
The measures included in the proposal for a Directive include obligatory identification by Member States of areas at risk of erosion, organic matter decline, compaction, salinisation and landslides, or where the degradation process is already underway. This will be done on the basis of criteria set out in the proposal.
Member States must then set objectives and adopt programmes of measures to reduce these risks and to address the effects they have. They must also take steps to limit soil sealing, notably by rehabilitating brownfield sites and, where sealing is necessary, to mitigate its effects.