A new collaboration of individuals and organisations is being set up to tackle the crisis facing UK soil.
The Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA) is a partnership of businesses, campaigning organisations, the applied scientific community, academia, governmental and non-governmental organisations working together to reverse soil decline and restore UK soils to health.
The alliance will be officially launched at the House of Commons on 23 October at an event hosted by MP Rebecca Pow, with speakers including Defra secretary Michael Gove, Woodland Trust chair Baroness Young, Soil Association chief executive Helen Browning, Greenpeace chief executive John Sauven, Eden Project founder Sir Tim Smit and Professor Chris Collins, co-ordinator of the Soil Security Programme.
The SSA’s role will be to provide a forum to debate the scale and nature of the problem, agree the indicators and determining factors, and identify the relevant policy mechanisms and levers for change; to unite stakeholders via public events, collaborative reports and calls to action aimed at politicians, media and the general public; to act as focal point for the sharing of knowledge, insights, research and expertise; and to monitor, analyse and inform about the evolving national, European and international debate on soil to effect positive change.
Founder Neville Fay said: “Our objective is to affect a step change in political and public understanding and appreciation of soil that will lead to a reversal of land degradation and the restoration of soils to health within one generation.
“We see the UK government, Brexit and changes in global environmental leadership as a unique opportunity to give soil – alongside air and water – the attention it so badly needs. Our Parliamentary reception will address how to frame a national soil recovery plan and bring soils to the heart of government policy as a fundamental pillar of life and natural processes upon which the entire food and farming system depends.”
“If there is a political will to address the reversal of soil degradation, this marks the beginning of a vision for soil policy.”