EU takes "first steps" towards soil protection

Commission seeks to raise political profile of soil, promises thematic strategy by 2004

The European Commission today issued a communication on protecting soil from erosion, contamination and other environmental threats. It includes a 2004 deadline for presentation of a "thematic strategy" on soil protection, as promised in the EU's sixth environmental action programme. Otherwise it adds very little to a draft issued last November (EED 02/11/01).

An estimated 16% of the EU land area is affected by land degradation, rising to about 35% in candidate countries. By creating a strategy for soils, claimed environment commissioner Margot Wallström, the Commission was "now placing soil protection on a level with cleaning up our water and air."

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