Knowledge for better food systems

England is spending little on monitoring soil quality

According to the Freedom of Information request made by the UK non-profit Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA), the UK government spent only £283,780 on monitoring soil health in England in the year 2017/18, compared to £60.5 million on monitoring freshwater and £7.7 million on monitoring air.

The SSA says that this relatively low spending in England contrasts with more ambitious soil monitoring programmes in Scotland and Wales, but does not specify how much is spent on the Scottish and Welsh programmes. 

SSA director Ellen Fay said “We could be actually saving money – and the environment – by investing in soil monitoring because understanding soil would tell us a great deal about the health of our water and air too.”

Read more here and read BBC news coverage here: Huge knowledge gap over health of soil. See also the Foodsource resource How do food systems affect land-use and biodiversity?

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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