To contribute to a possible re-launch of the debate on the need for a European framework on soil legislation, taking into account the political sensitivity of the issue and the resulting blockade of earlier proposals at the level of the Council of Ministers
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- considers that soil type, land management and climate differ widely across the regions of Europe and this means specific management guidance and protection strategies are required to ensure soil protection is carried out in a proportionate way, based on regional priorities, but under an overarching framework to ensure EU policies are also met;
- notes that tackling soil risks and threats is urgent, particularly with regard to climate change;
- stresses that climate change can have a range of impacts on soil, mainly as a result of changes in soil wetness, soil temperature and also rainfall patterns, which can result in soil degradation, including loss of organic matter and an increase in erosion, compaction and run-off;
- stresses that local and regional authorities can play an important role in monitoring soil degradation and in contributing to an inventory of contaminated sites;
- believes that soil policy needs to strike the right balance between European-level action balanced with the principles of subsidiarity and better regulation in order to avoid unnecessary additional administrative burdens and disproportionate costs. EU regulations on soil should therefore be designed to intervene only where action is required;
- believes that gaps in soil protection measures are best dealt with on a common basis across the EU through a general framework and common principles that all countries need to adhere to. A Soil Framework Directive would therefore be supported although it is essential that the policy is not unnecessarily prescriptive, such as with quantitative provisions and limits.