Soil is an integral part of the environment. It is essential for the production of food and other crops, for maintaining biodiversity, for the landscape. It contains much archaeological evidence of our history.
Soil quality is not a major problem in the UK, although there are localised problems of erosion, acidification and other contamination. But there are long term pressures on soils. Minimising the loss of soils to new development and land use presents a particular challenge. In the past, soil protection has received less attention than the protection of air and water. The Government will ensure that soil protection receives equal priority in future. A draft soil strategy for England and Wales will be available for public consultation shortly. Taking forward strategies for Scotland and Northern Ireland will be the responsibility of the devolved administrations.
The strategy will identify pressures on soils and set out objectives and measures for soil protection and include indicators of progress. It will also set out action to improve understanding of soil processes and to increase public awareness of the importance of soils.