Soil protection in the EU: the most important soil-related EU policies and legal sources

  • Zsolt Tóth University of Veterinary, Institute for Biology, Department of Ecology
Keywords: environmental protection, EU legislation, land degradation, soil management


Soil degradation is one of the most challenging environmental problems both at EU and global level. In acquis communautaire, however, there is no EU legislation explicitly aimed at soil protection up to now. The existing provisions, even if fully implemented, result in fragmented and incomplete soil protection due to their different objectives and scope, as they do not cover all known soil types and threats to soil. This paper provides an overview of the most important soil-related EU policies (environmental, agricultural and regional policies) and legal sources which significantly influence the state of European soils. In order to enforce the principle of sustainability, an effective soil protection is essential, which creates the basis for sustainable management of the soil as a natural resource having regard to the continuous soil degradation. Thus, we must welcome all competent and comprehensive European (and international) legislative measures to better protect our soils.