MPs have launched an inquiry on the state of UK soil health, which will allow key recommendations to be made to the government.
The soil health inquiry, conducted by the cross-party Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee (EFRA), will hold its first public evidence session next week.
MPs who sit on EFRA will investigate on Tuesday 7 March how the government intends to meet its goal of having all soil 'managed sustainably' by 2030.
It is not currently clear how soil health will be measured by the government, with MPs saying this will need to be clarified as new legislation will encourage farmers to provide ‘public goods’, including healthy soil.
Chair of EFRA, Sir Robert Goodwill MP said it was vital that the government brought farmers and land managers along with any reforms made.
“Soil health matters to everyone – it’s central to the food we eat, the ecosystems we are a part of and our efforts to address climate change," he said.
“Policy changes must be ambitious enough to turn the tide of soil degradation, but also flexible and appealing to those who work the land. Any reforms must also cover a broad range of soils.”
Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith & The Border and member of EFRA, added that the inquiry was 'crucial' to the future of UK food production.
"This inquiry on soil and the environment will allow us to make key recommendations to government as to how best to protect and nurture this vital life-giving natural asset."
He said: "Soil health is so vital for food production and security and for a healthy environment."
What will be asked at the inquiry?
Areas of questioning at the session on 7 March may include:
• The current state of the over 700 types of soil in the UK
• What we know about soil health trends
• The current regulation of soils
• The government’s strategy and targets for improving soil health