Letter to members of the ENVI and AGRI Commissions of the European Parliament

The SIP Forum continues to draw the attention of the European Parliament to the importance of the soil. A letter has been sent to members of its Environmental (ENVI) and Agriculture (AGRI) committees, more than 200 people in total. The letter was sent in FR / DE / EN. Here is the English version:

The release of the Green Deal for Europe last December triggered new political interest in all European environmental issues. Despite the restrictions forced by the COVID19 pandemic, the DG Environment – which follows the deadlines planned by the Green Deal roadmap – has already released some official communications on environmental themes.

In this new context, the soil has gained visibility as it is clearly mentioned in the communication on biodiversity through the commitment towards a new Directive Proposal to be released by 2021.

We wish to remind everyone that a specific European directive does not yet safeguard the soil, the backbone of any ecosystem and the source of life, even though it is increasingly in danger of degradation and loss. The official reports of the European Environmental Agency report catastrophic data on the loss of soil in its various forms .

 It thus becomes essential to develop a behavioural framework based on soil protection, repair, and preservation, against the current and underestimated practice of its misuse. Maintenance of soil quality and functionality is pivotal to realizing all of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to ensure a decent future for the coming generations.

 It is now time for EU institutions to reconsider, rethink, and reassess all that has to be done for the soil, in order to achieve a scientifically robust plan capable of allowing its sustainable management, as well as an innovative agriculture aware of the global climate crisis. This plan will have to build the base for a future proposal on soil regulation with one central and precise principle: no single document can lack the immediate and mandatory halt to any waste of soil. This purpose does not imply the total halting of the construction industry. It is instead the only vision able to reconcile soil preservation with the huge building activity needed to recover, energetically improve, and secure our existing enormous and obsolescent architectural heritage. This, indeed, will allow us to proceed with the upgrading and refurbishment of buildings and houses in our cities and villages, so as to promote technological compliance.

However, protection of the soil from uncontrolled exploitation and from pollution (oil extraction, illegal landfills, waste mismanagement), and thus from the present negative trend, will be possible only through a shared acceptance of responsibility based on health, quality, real food safety, access to land, and the re-establishment of a rural and soil culture, but also through a deep rethinking of urban development and growth, of mobility and the necessary infrastructures.

It is thus essential that the new proposal for a directive on soil can emerge through the involvement of researchers and the academic community, as well as other stakeholders involved in soil use: farmers, unions, architects, and engineers, constructors, but also representatives of civil society and the world of production, administrators, landscapers, practitioners, and EU institutions.

 As Forum Salviamo il Paesaggio we have already called the attention of the Community institutions to the importance of safeguarding the soil for present and future generations .

 We are now asking you, as a member or substitute of both ENVI and AGRI Commissions, to act directly to promote a coherent legal framework to include our requests.