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The two European sister projects FER-PLAY and NOVAFERT welcome the proposal for a Soil Monitoring Law


The two European sister projects FER-PLAY and NOVAFERT welcome the proposal for a Soil Monitoring Law published on the 5th of July which is a first step towards achieving the goal of having all soils in healthy condition in Europe by 2050.

The proposal of the European Commission provides a solid monitoring and assessment framework for soil health and sets the basic principles to define sustainable soil management (SSM) and regeneration practices as well as remediate contaminated sites. To restore soil health, SSM practices will need to be gradually implemented on all EU managed soils and regeneration practices on unhealthy soils. As indicated in Annex III of the proposal, these practices must be compliant with SSM principles which include the principle e.: when fertilization is applied, ensure adaptation to the needs of the plant and trees at the given location and in the given period, and to the condition of soil and prioritize circular solutions that enrich the organic content. FER-PLAY and NOVAFERT welcome the inclusion of this SSM principle which recognises the importance of using circular fertilisers with recycled nutrients and soil improvement properties.

One of the main drivers of the degradation of soils and of the ecosystems depending on these soils (e.g. water bodies), is related to unsustainable/traditional fertilisation which has resulted in contamination (by heavy metals and excess of nutrients), increased water demand, and poor provision of organic constituents to the soil. Russias war on Ukraine has destabilised global food security making it essential for the EU to secure fertile soils by requiring the production and use of fertilisers from local renewable sources.

Additionally, circular fertilisers play a crucial role in soil remediation processes by enriching soil organic carbon. Given the level of soil degradation in Europe and its potential impacts, FER-PLAY and NOVAFERT propose a set of nine recommendations to be included in the Soil Monitoring Law:

  • Include binding targets for soil health in Article 1.
  • Make the implementation of SSM and regeneration practices mandatory in Article 10.
  • Shorten the time allowed to identify the potentially contaminated soils in Article 13.
  • Identify an environmental safety threshold in Article 15.
  • Request the publication by the European Commission of a specific technical guidance with examples of effective SSM and regeneration practices.
  • Support the implementation of SSM and regeneration practices in other EU legislations and remove any remaining regulatory barrier for the uptake of these practices.
  • Request Member States, through the designated competent authority at each district level, to provide input to a shared EU database of SSM practices used/adopted to remediate/restore soil functions in Chapter 3 (Sustainable Soil Management).
  • Include mechanisms to evaluate the impact of unhealthy soils on linked ecosystems and earth compartments.
  • Increase the importance in the law of the circular fertilisers.