Soiled: Degradation in the mother of all parliaments

TitleSoiled: Degradation in the mother of all parliaments
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsButler, J
JournalPlanet Earth
IssueSPRING 2007

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), under the Natural Environment Research Council/POST (NERC/POST) Fellowship scheme, is studying, among other things, soil degradation in the UK. Annually, around 2.2 million tons of topsoil are eroded, 17% of which are arable land. Such figures are now getting the attention of the Environment Agency, Defra and the European Union (EU). The Single Payment Scheme provides subsidies on the basis that land is maintained in good agricultural and environmental condition and includes a review of soil protection measures. In an incentive-based initiative, such as Environmental Stewardship, 40% of the 20,000 participants have chosen to complete a soil management plan which protects soil from physical erosion. However, while incentive-backed policies are starting to address degradation, the lack of the interactions between soil, water, air and climate change makes it difficult to assess their success.