Healthy soils are needed to protect our supply of food

Sustain member the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) calls for a radical rethinking of farming practices to regenerate the soil.

Close up on soil. Photo credit: Pexels

Close up on soil. Photo credit: Pexels

Soils must be better protected to secure our domestic supply of food argues a new paper from the CPRE: Back to the Land. The paper sets out practical changes that must be made with innovative farming practices, such as agroforestry and mob grazing to restore healthy soils whilst maintaining farm productivity.

In the paper the CPRE call on the government to: 

  • Make protection of all soils from degradation a headline goal of the 25 Year Environment Plan and develop an action plan to achieve their sustainable management by 2030 
  • Establish a new goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 2050 
  • Design investment and regulation to halt soil degradation and promote measures which protect and regenerate soils 
  • Commit to developing metrics and monitoring needed to underpin sustainable soil management 
  • Revise the National Planning Policy Framework and national planning guidance to recognise land and soils for the role they play, and to minimise degradation. 

The paper also considers why soils continue to be degraded and lost, including an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of recent policy. The report analyses why soils must be better protected in the future to reduce the risks of climate change, improve water quality and restore the health of the natural world.