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Soil Protection Review

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the basis was for the decision that farmers should be required to complete the Cross Compliance Soil Protection Review. (101659)

Under Council Regulation EC 1782/2003 (Article 5 and Annex IV), member states have to set standards in order to maintain land in good agricultural and environmental condition. This includes a requirement to address the problems associated with soil erosion, soil organic matter and soil structure. The Soil Protection Review is designed to meet this requirement.

In England, following extensive discussion with farmers and a full public consultation in spring 2004, we announced our intention to introduce the requirement for a simple soil management plan—the Soil Protection Review—from 2006.

The risk-based approach adopted in the Soil Protection Review allows farmers to choose appropriate measures specific to their holding. This approach was generally favoured by stakeholders in preference to a requirement to comply with an extensive list of prescriptive national soil management standards.