The European Commission has withdrawn its proposalfor a Soil Framework Directive following years of NFU lobbying, reports the organisation.
The ill-fated draft Directive was first published in 2006but has remained on hold since the end of 2007 when a coalition made up of theUK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria blocked its progress at ameeting of the EU Environment Council. This coalition or blockingminority of countries has remained firmly opposed to the proposals over thistime.
NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: The withdrawal of an EUlegislative proposal is unprecedented, but the significant and on-goingopposition to the draft Soils Directive text over the past eight years hasclearly left the Commissions original proposals unworkable.
From the early stages of the negotiations on the draftSoils Directive, and since the halt on its progress at the end of 2007, the NFUhas actively called for these proposals to be thrown out. Our long held andfirm belief has been that there is no need for additional legislation in thisarea soils in the UK, and across the EU, are already protected by a range oflaws and other measures, including cross compliance requirements and moretargeted measures within agri-environment scheme agreements.
Farmers have an inherent interest in maintaining theirland in good condition and in assuring its long-term fertility andproductivity, and we believe that these can be supported through carefullytargeted advice and information, voluntary action, partnerships and a greateremphasis on monitoring and research, but not another legislative proposal.