Geology, soil and seismic risk

Sessions on Soil “Soil and Planning” and “Soil: Sealing and Consumption”, EUREGEO 2012

Closing Statements, 7th EUropean congress on REgional GEOscientific cartography and Information systems, Bologna 2012

Final, session 2 - Soil

Even as generally submitted to property rights, soil is a common good; it is a limited, largely non-renewable resource, which is the necessary and prime element for the existence of all living beings. Recognizing the multiple functions of soil, as defined at European level in the proposed Soil Framework Directive (COM (2006) 232 final), entails a renewed effort for global soil protection for assuring sustainable livelihoods for future generations.

Soil sealing and land take by settlements and transport infrastructures represent one of the most important threats to European soils. In addition sealed soils may have a great impact on surrounding soils, e.g. by changing water flow patterns or potentially inducing soil consumption by soil contamination from industrial areas.

There is an urgent need of action. Today choices will condition our common future. E.g. Europe's capacity to deliver food security is an important long term choice for Europe which cannot be taken for granted (COM(2010) 672 final). It is generally better understood now, owing to the food and economic crises and the changing global situation, that all countries and regions, including the less favoured ones, must have the right and even an obligation to produce their own food (2011/C 54/04). 

Living in a sustainable way requires changing our way of thinking and acting (e.g. civic agriculture experiences; pro-social attitudes, intrinsic motivations and soil social values; practical experiences of the food sovereignty concept).

The participants to the Soil sessions of Euregeo 2012 endorse these recommendations:

  • To harmonise approaches for monitoring soil sealing;
  • To contribute to raising awareness for a sustainable use of soil in those involved at the different scale levels (politicians, planners, stakeholders, technicians, land users, land owners, entrepreneurs, citizens, local inhabitants, associations etc.) and getting feedback;
  • To actually involve all actors into the integrated rural and urban planning and management and to be open to multiple expectations and perceptions about the “value” of soils;
  • To implement soil functions and land cover geographical information systems and to co-operate in their integrated and interdisciplinary use, as fundamental tools in supporting soil consumption governance;
  • To underline that there are no short-cuts to get reliable soil info to be effectively inter-acting and useful in soil assessment and planning, given that this information is not always available as such and difficult and costly to achieve;
  • To apply a multiple scale approach, having in mind that there is not only one scale suitable to any soil investigation and planning;
  • To consider the multiplicity of functions delivered by soil as well as their mutual relations for defining the locally  specific levels of degradation acceptability;
  • To call for a suspension of soil consumption (e.g. by stopping the conversion of agricultural soils), in order to reconsider tools and objectives, according to the precautionary principle, when the local levels of soil consumption are not acceptable in terms of targets to be achieved and measures to reach those targets, ;
  • To encourage the redevelopment of brownfields as a countermeasure against soil consumption, without overcomplicating procedures and norms;
  • To increase awareness about the role of soils in the ecosystem and the economy at political level in all Member States, thus favouring the adoption of the Soil Framework Directive by the EU;
  • In the case of Italy, to pursue a strong coordination strategy between the norms regulating the land/ urban planning and the management/ remediation of contaminated sites, overcoming the existing gaps which cause contradictions often leading to the failure of reclamation plans.


Sessions on soil




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