Press release: 17 November 2021

New EU soil strategy is “ray of hope” for health of people and nature – ClientEarth reaction

Environmental lawyers at ClientEarth have reacted to the European Commission’s new EU Soil Strategy for 2030, calling it a long-awaited answer to an urgent call to protect one of our planet’s most important resources.

The Commission has proposed to table an EU soil health law by 2023, with the goal of dramatically improving the state of soil by 2050. If backed by the European Parliament and the Council, it would be the first EU-wide law protecting soil.

ClientEarth agriculture lawyer Lara Fornabaio said: “Soil is the foundation of life on earth, but there is currently no EU law to protect and restore it. The Commission’s plan is a much-needed ray of hope to rectify this unthinkable gap in environmental protection.”

Until now, some EU countries have pushed back against an EU soil law, saying it should remain a domestic responsibility, but this has made protecting soil health piecemeal across the bloc.

The Strategy is a fresh attempt to introduce a legislative framework for soil, which would eliminate this lack of harmonization by setting thresholds and identifying indicators to ensure healthy soils throughout the EU.

Fornabaio added: “National interests have previously got in the way of protecting soil, but without a unified approach we risk destroying our ability to feed the planet in the future. With the additional pressures caused by climate change and loss of wildlife, there has never been a more pressing need to ensure the protection and sustainable use of soil.

“An EU-wide law to protect soil is an initiative we must all support. The Commission has made a strong first step and we hope that bold action will follow.”


Notes to editors:
  • The new EU Soil Strategy was initially announced as part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy published in 2020. ClientEarth responded to the European Commission’s consultation of the Strategy in April 2021. The new EU Soil Strategy proposed today details how the European Commission intends to protect and restore soil in the EU.

  • In April 2021, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on soil protection, in which it calls the Commission to adopt a new law at EU level to protect EU soils.

  • Following the publication of the Strategy today, the European Commission will put forward a proposal for an EU Soil Health Law, which the European Parliament and Council will review and will have to agree on for it to be formally adopted.

About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation that uses the law to create systemic change that protects the Earth for – and with – its inhabitants. We are tackling climate change, protecting nature and stopping pollution, with partners and citizens around the globe. We hold industry and governments to account, and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. From our offices in Europe, Asia and the USA we shape, implement and enforce the law, to build a future for our planet in which people and nature can thrive together.