EU:n maaperästrategian päivitys
Suomen luonnonsuojeluliitto (The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation) is the oldest and biggest environmental NGO in Finland.
We welcome the new Soil Strategy. Soil is one of the main elements, and it needs own EU legislation now. The new Soil Strategy should be the first step towards new Framework Directive with measurable and binding targets with timetables. Last time there were five Member States blocking the Directive, but now one of them (UK) has left the EU.
Some Member States have best practices for inspiration to the whole EU. For example, we have a special section in the Finnish Environmental Protection Act (527/2014, 16 §): ”Prohibition against soil contamination. Waste or other substances, organisms or micro-organisms shall not be dumped or discharged into or on the ground so as to result in such deterioration of soil quality as may cause hazard or harm to health or the environment, substantial decline in amenities or comparable infringement of the public or private interest (prohibition against soil contamination).” This kind of prohibitions should be included in the Strategy and future Framework Directive.
Chemical pollution is one basic problem for soils. There is urgent need to reduce pollution in agriculture and other activities. Remediation of polluted sites is important, too.
We need urgent measures to national CAP strategies and programmes, because they are just now under preparation in all Member States. CAP should contribute to Biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies, as with Climate Change targets. That is why protection of peatlands and other carbon-rich soils should be mandatory.
The ”no net land take” principle should be operationalised quickly against sealing of greenfield areas, with practical reduction targets and timetables. Also compensatory and restoration measures are needed. It is especially important to stop sealing with EU funds, like TEN and Structural Funds.
One special problem is deforestation, which is going on also in Finland and many other EU Member States. On the other side, afforestation should be done only with native tree species and suitable places (not in traditional rural habitats or High Nature Value farmland). In addition, taking of moss should be restricted (this is a brand new environmental problem in Finland, which is not regulated now).
It is important to estimate, reduce and compensate the soil footprint from consumption in the EU Member States in other continents, too.
On behalf of Suomen luonnonsuojeluliitto
Head of nature conservation
Suojelupäällikkö Tapani Veistola
- +358 400 615 530