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Bibliothèque Safeguarding our Soils - A Strategy for England.

Safeguarding our Soils - A Strategy for England.

Safeguarding our Soils - A Strategy for England.

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Août 2009
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The Strategy's vision by 2030 aims at soils being managed sustainably and degradation threats tackled successfully. This will improve the quality of England’s soils and safeguard their ability to provide essential services for future generations. Agricultural soils will be better managed and threats to them will be addressed; soils will play a greater role in the fight against climate change and in helping us to manage its impacts; soils in urban areas will be valued during development, and construction practices will ensure vital soil functions can be maintained; and pollution of our soils is prevented, and our historic legacy of contaminated land is being dealt with. All threats may be magnified by climate change. Safeguarding our soils for future generations means managing them better, reducing degradation and building resilience to increasing pressures in order to provide a sustainable food supply and cope with climate change (pag. 4).The size of the soil carbon store means that soils have a vital role to play in climate change mitigation. We must prevent the loss of soil carbon to the atmosphere and explore the potential to increase existing carbon stores as a contribution to meeting the Government’s climate change targets. Objectives: Improve our understanding of the potential to increase levels of soil carbon; Significantly reduce the rate of loss of stored soil carbon by 2020; Ensure land managers understand how to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change through improved management practices (pag. 18). A changing climate provides the context in which this strategy must operate. Achieving our vision relies on the ability to better understand the impact of climate change on our soils and identify what must be done to enable them to adapt. Objectives: Develop the evidence base on the impact of climate change on soils; Ensure that land managers have the information and guidance necessary to be able to secure the resilience of their soils in the face of a changing climate (pag. 22).Soil pollution has long-term implications for soil quality, and pollutants enter the soil from many sources. Achieving our vision relies on preventing the pollution or contamination of our soils, in particular from the spreading of organic and inorganic materials to land and from atmospheric deposition. Objectives: Improve our understanding of the risks to human health and the environment from soil pollution; Reduce the levels of pollutants entering the soil from the atmosphere and from materials spread to land; Ensure advice on the use of materials spread to land reflects the latest scientific understanding (pag. 25). Good quality soils in urban areas are vital in supporting ecosystems, facilitating drainage and providing urban green spaces for communities. Ensuring these functions are sufficiently understood and valued in the planning system and during construction is an essential part of achieving our vision. Objectives: Ensure soil ecosystem services are fully valued in the planning process; Ensure appropriate consideration is given to the protection of good quality agricultural soils from development; Encourage better management of soils through all stages of construction (pag. 31). Contaminated soils can pose a significant risk to human health and the environment. To achieve the vision it is necessary to ensure these risks are identified and dealt with. The scale of the task means this is likely to take decades to achieve. Objectives: Improve understanding of the impacts of contaminated land and sustainable remediation techniques; Ensure contaminated sites that pose a significant risk to human health and the environment are identified and steady progress is made towards their remediation (pag. 35).

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