Back to the land: rethinking our approach to soil

Back to the land: rethinking our approach to soil

3rd December 2018

A new report sets out practical ways to restore soil and new approaches to policy.

A new report 'Back to the land: rethinking our approach to soil', published 3rd December by CPRE, calls for a radical rethink of farming practices and soil management in order to help regenerate the soils that underpin our supply of food and environment. It sets out practical ways to restore soil and new approaches to policy.

This is the third paper of CPRE's Food and Farming Foresight Series. It explores why soils are important and their main functions, and look at the key threats they face, from the way they are managed to their loss to farming when developed. The report also analyses why soils must be better protected in the future, including to secure the domestic supply of food, reduce the risks of climate change, improve water quality and restore the health of the natural world. It also considers why soils continue to be degraded and lost, including an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of recent policy.

Shaun Leavey OBE FRAgS, Farming Adviser to Dorset CPRE comments:
'With a mixed farming economy in Dorset (i.e. both arable and grassland) our county has to be acutely aware of the importance which soil management plays in local husbandry – both for crops and stock.  Dorset farmers and growers will want to have a say about the way in which any future measures are introduced to improve soil management.  I hope that Dorset CPRE can engage with the farming community to learn how they can best implement the objectives that CPRE has set out.

It will be important to remember that making policy about an issue such as this is one thing, and making it happen on the ground is quite another.

There is best practise out there on some farms, and we need to learn from those who have adopted it already how it might become a far more widespread and accepted way of safeguarding this crucial area of husbandry.'