Yesterday, the 5th of July 2023 the EU proposal for Soil monitoring law came out, which aims to restore EU soil health by 2050. The proposal, for the first-ever EU legislation on soils, provides a harmonised definition of soil health, puts in place a comprehensive and coherent monitoring framework and fosters sustainable soil management and remediation of contaminated sites.

The EU estimates that 60% to 70% of soils are in unfavourable or poor condition, and that over 50 billion euro's a year is lost to soil degradation.  Soils currently do not receive the same level of legal protection in the EU as air and water. The European Parliament, other EU institutions, stakeholders and citizens have therefore called on the Commission to develop an EU legal framework for the protection and sustainable use of soil. 

The proposal also requests that Member States address unacceptable risks for human health and the environment due to soil contamination, guided by the polluter pays principle. Member States will need to identify, investigate, assess and clean up contaminated sites.

Do you want to read more about it, you can visit the question and answer section or read the press release


On the same day, the results of the Land Use and Coverage Area frame Survey (LUCAS) soil module came out. The LUCAS project the largest study providing a comprehensive characterisation on the extent of residues of active ingredients from pesticides in the soils of the EU. This work establishes an initial EU baseline, and project a future assessment of the effectiveness of EU policies and regulations targeting pesticides use and soil pollution.

The main findings of this study allowed understanding that, pesticide use and residues in soils are widespread in the European agricultural lands (74.5%), whereas most of the sites (57.1%) present mixtures of substances. Additionally, an indicator of the ecotoxicological impact for soil organisms was developed, identifying areas at higher risk (1.7%), for which also was possible to estimate increase in ecotoxicological risk when compared with a previous assessment.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Details are in the caption following the image