Withdrawal of Soil Framework Directive welcomed

The European Commission has finally withdrawn its proposal for a Soil Framework Directive following years of NFU lobbying.


The ill-fated draft Directive was first published in 2006 but has remained on hold since the end of 2007 when a coalition made up of the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria blocked its progress at a meeting of the EU Environment Council.  This coalition or ‘blocking minority’ of countries has remained firmly opposed to the proposals over this time.

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NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: “The withdrawal of an EU legislative proposal is unprecedented, but the significant and on-going opposition to the draft Soils Directive text over the past eight years has clearly left the Commission’s original proposals unworkable. 

“From the early stages of the negotiations on the draft Soils Directive, and since the halt on its progress at the end of 2007, the NFU has actively called for these proposals to be thrown out. Our long held and firm belief has been that there is no need for additional legislation in this area – soils in the UK, and across the EU, are already protected by a range of laws and other measures, including cross compliance requirements and more targeted measures within agri-environment scheme agreements.


“Farmers have an inherent interest in maintaining their land in good condition and in assuring its long-term fertility and productivity, and we believe that these can be supported through carefully targeted advice and information, voluntary action, partnerships and a greater emphasis on monitoring and research, but not another legislative proposal.”


Notes to editors:

The formal notification of the withdrawal of the Directive is available to read here the Official Journal of the European Union http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:C:2014:153:FULL&from=EN

  • Posted by: Tom AndrewsPosted on: 10/07/2015 14:36:44

    Comment: What exactly is wrong with a directive to minimise soil erosion and compaction, maintain the organic matter contained in the soil, prevent landslides and prevent soil from being contaminated with toxic substances? How can any sentient person object to these aims? And can anyone who has studied the complete failure of current soil protection measures in countries such as the United Kingdom, where even Farmer’s Weekly admits that “British soils are reaching crisis point”, fail to see that further measures are required?
  • Posted by: Russell TonguePosted on: 11/07/2015 22:11:01

    Comment: Soils are degrading. You know this. Why are you fighting against what is necessary?
    Long term health of soils, which can often only be measured in generations or multiples thereof, is as important to us as a species.
    Current farming practices degrade soils. We have to change the way we farm.
  • Posted by: Scott Van NiekerkPosted on: 14/07/2015 10:26:04

    Comment: The people who opposed this just want to see 'business as usual'. When the soil fails they'll be the first ones screaming that the government is responsible!