The European Commission has launched an observatory for soil health throughout the EU, which will be aimed at “ensuring that 75% of soils are healthy by 2030”.

The ‘EU Soil Observatory’ has been developed as part of the Horizon EU plan in the area of soil health and food, which also forms part of goals outlined in the European Green Deal.

It is hoped that the EU Soil Observatory “will provide the necessary data to monitor progress towards European soil health objectives and targets, with the ultimate goal of improving soil management and halting soil degradation”.

The new EU Soil Observatory will further expand existing soil data and monitoring efforts.

“It is a first practical step towards implementing the proposed mission in the area of soil health and food,” said Mariya Gabriel, European Commission for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

Janusz Wojchiechowski, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, commented: “Soil health is increasingly in the spotlight, highlighting its importance for food security, clean water, biodiversity and for better coping with climate change.”

He added: “Research and innovation will be crucial in finding solutions which can be tested, replicated and taken up on the ground.

Here the proposed EU mission on soil health and food, in combination with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), will be a powerful tool to promote sustainable land and soil management which delivers wider benefits for society.

The observatory will be operated by the commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), which has provided policy relevant soil data and information in the past.