Soil protection is transboundary by nature

Brussels, 06.12.2021. Since 2002, the World Soil Day takes place every year on 5 December. MEP Manuela Ripa used this occasion to speak one day later in the Environment Committee about the importance of a European Soil Protection Act: “I very much welcome the fact that the EU Commission finally announces a legislative proposal for the urgently needed EU soil protection. Binding and EU-uniform soil protection is an essential and so far missing piece of the puzzle for the protection of our livelihood, our climate, our biodiversity and our waters.”

“Soil protection is transboundary by nature, because soils know no borders. Therefore, soil protection can no longer be left to the EU Member States alone, which have done far too little,” Ripa continued. Previous attempts by the EU to present binding measures had failed not only because of a strong agricultural lobby but also because of resistance from national governments. According to the coalition agreement, Germany promises no more blockade in the European Council – let’s hope other countries like France, Austria and the Netherlands do the same.

“The Parliament has long fought for a legal framework to protect soils, so I am all the more grateful that the Commission is finally sending a clear signal for the European Green Deal and giving soil the same importance as air and water. Because without healthy soils we will not achieve our climate and biodiversity goals,” Ripa, who as shadow rapporteur for the Greens/EFA Group is responsible for the European Parliament resolution on soil protection, once again makes clear.

The ÖDP politician also calls on the Commission to make the problem of increasing land sealing a focus of the legislative proposal and to oblige member states to always give preference to brownfield and vacant land over unsealed soil. “By 2030 we need a 50% reduction in daily land use and well before 2050 there must be net zero land use and a circular land economy. Since soil protection concerns all citizens, there must also be a right to citizen participation in spatial planning procedures,” Ripa continues and concludes: “We have lost a lot of valuable time for the protection of our vital resource soil. The Commission must present its proposal by the beginning of 2023 so that we can pass a law in this legislative period!”


Photo Credit: Adobe Stock