An Taisce calls on Minister Coveney to protect the EU Soil Framework

13th November 2013
Press Release

An Taisce calls on Minister Coveney to protect the EU Soil Framework Directive and introduce CAP schemes to support soil regeneration

EU considering withdrawal of important environmental legislation

An Taisce – the National Trust for Ireland – today called on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to take steps to protect the proposed EU Soil Framework Directive and to introduce schemes under the new CAP reform to support agricultural practices that preserve and regenerate soil health.

Soil erosion and degradation are serious problems that are causing declines in soil fertility and productivity worldwide. Improved land management techniques and agricultural practices are needed to protect the health of soils, improve agricultural yields and combat climate change1.

In spite of this, the European Commission recently announced that it is considering withdrawing the proposed Soil Framework Directive, ostensibly in an effort to simplify legislation and cut red tape2.

David Garvey, Agri-environment Officer with An Taisce, commented “abandonment of the Soil Framework Directive would be a significant blow to the environment”.

He continued “the Commission’s own report released last year highlighted the dangerous trend of soil degradation internationally, and the need for integration of soil protection in different policies to address the transboundary nature of this problem”5.

Originally billed by the EU as “the cornerstone in the implementation of a proper soil protection policy in the European Union”3, the Soil Framework Directive, if implemented, would address current gaps in EU environmental legislation and bring soil protection in line with other protection policies.

However, persistent opposition to the Directive by a number of EU countries has made it impossible to reach the necessary majority to adopt the legislation.

“While the Commission has stated that it remains committed to the “objectives of the proposal”4, it has been accused of pandering to a deregulation agenda for political reasons,” commented Mr. Garvey. “Any move to abandon the Soil Framework Directive should be resisted by all of us, in the interests of our countryside, our farming sector and the environment more generally.”

ENDS

For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce +353 87 2411995

James Nix, Policy Director, An Taisce Tel: +353 86 8394129

Email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org

An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland

www.antaisce.ie

Notes

http://forkedmagazine.org/2013/11/08/peak-soil-unless-we-act-now-the-very-ground-beneath-us-will-wither-and-die/ http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-833_en.htm See p.4: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/pubs/pdf/factsheets/soil2.pdf http://ec.europa.eu/smart-regulation/docs/20131002-refit-annex_en.pdf http://eusoils.jrc.ec.europa.eu/library/jrc_soil/policy/DGENV/COM%282012%2946_EN.pdf