Statement des ITVA zur neuen Bodenstrategie der EU

Roadmap „ New Soil Strategy – healthy soil for a healthy life”Statement of the German Scientific-technical Association for Environmental Remediation and Brownfield Redevelopment (ITVA)

ITVA welcomes that the European Commission will revise the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection and emphasize the importance of soil as a limited resource.

European and international initiatives and agreements must be taken into account in the revision of the Thematic Strategy. These include in particular the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the European Green Deal, the EU Mission „Soil Health and Food“, the EU Biodiversity Strategy, the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and the FAO Global Soil Partnership. The protection of soil biodiversity and the maintenance and improvement of soil ecosystem services in general must be integrated into all policy areas.

Beyond a revision of the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection, it is still urgently necessary to implement a European soil framework directive in order to provide a legally binding European framework for soil protection. An EU Soil Framework Directive should be developed in a broad-based process involving all stakeholders. This also includes uniform assessment standards for soil damage, so that a uniform approach is possible without distorting competition, as is also the case with the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and air pollution control.

The Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection must contain specific binding targets for good ecological soil status, regulations on land use, specifications for EU-wide quality requirements, e.g. with regard to contamination. In addition, uniform standards (assessment, precautionary, test and limit values) should be established for a common responsible approach to soil damage.

Progress in identifying and remediating contaminated sites and address diffuse contamination must soon be achieved. Damaged soil must be restored. The polluter pays principle must be applied consistently. Special attention is currently required for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) due to the high level of soil and water contamination in the EU and worldwide.

Soil protection cannot be carried out only locally, regionally or nationally. Climate protection/change, soil erosion, desertification, the protection of „good“ soils for food security are European issues that must also be discussed and resolved at European level. There are complex interrelationships between soil and climate, some of which have increasing feedback effects. One part of the strategy must be to raise public awareness of the urgent need for soil protection.

The rate of land take, urban sprawl and sealing must be reduced significantly to achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030 and no net land take by 2050. When creating new living space, focus on brownfield redevelopment, i.e. re-use formerly built-up areas, the redensification of less used sites.