16 Apr Soil Protection: Stage victory for an EU-wide legal frame on the protection of soil
Brussels, April 16th, 2021 – In a two-days session, the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI Committee) voted on the Motion for a Resolution on Soil Protection in Europe. Manuela Ripa, the shadow rapporteur responsible for the file in the Group of the Greens/EFA, was able to achieve very good results on amendments central to sustainable soil management and environmental protection.
“This is an important stage victory on our way to an effective and EU-wide legal frame for the protection of soil in Europe. Despite being a crucial element in our fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, soil is the single environmental area without EU legislation to protect it. Soil is a powerful carbon sink, it protects us from floods, filters water and is – quite literally – the very basis for our food and many other materials vital for our existence. Now, we have all eyes on the plenary vote by the end of April to get the whole Parliament behind this resolution, which is critical for effective climate action and environmental protection”, comments Manuela Ripa.
On May 18, the EU Commission is scheduled to adopt the Zero Pollution Action Plan on Air, Water and Soil. In the view of this, the European Parliament has already adopted resolutions on air and water, leaving soil protection the last piece of the puzzle to influence the Commission’s action plan.
“An EU-wide legal framework for soil protection is long overdue and we managed to achieve very good results with this committee vote. For example, we were able to recommend the development of new green, forestry and agroforestry areas to counterbalance the high level of soil sealing in European cities. Another successful amendment calls for the strict enforcement of good animal husbandry standards to reduce veterinary medicines and their spreading on the fields via manure, as well as a call for the strict enforcement of nitrate limits”, concludes Ripa.
After this week’s vote in the ENVI Committee, the file is scheduled to go through the plenary session in the last week of April. The resolution is officially adopted by the European Parliament only after the plenary vote with all MEPs.
This is an important stage victory on our way to an effective and EU-wide legal frame for the protection of soil in Europe. Despite being a crucial element in our fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, soil is the single environmental area without EU legislation to protect it.