EU Commission has decided to drop plans for a Framework Directive on soil. Many farm organisations had criticised the Directive believing it would have imposed unnecessary over regulation on the farming industry.

Welcoming the decision by the Commission to withdraw the Soil Directive from its work programme, UFU President Ian Marshall said; “We have lobbied our local MEP’s on this issue for a number of years and our office in Brussels has put in a lot of effort to outline our total opposition to this proposed Directive.  This would have led to complicated over-regulation of the farming industry, at odds with the Commissions own aspirations for better regulation.  The farming industry already complies with comprehensive soil protection regulations and farmers’ primary interest is in maintaining their land in good condition and in assuring its long-term fertility and productivity.  We have been totally opposed to the introduction of a Framework Directive on soil where the only measurable outcome would have been more red tape for farmers.”

Ian added; “The Commissions plans for a Soil Directive failed to acknowledge the significant benefits that are and will continue to be delivered through existing and forthcoming policies such as: CAP cross compliance measures; the targeted use of agri-environment schemes; the Nitrates Action Programme and Northern Ireland Phosphorus Regulations; and carefully targeted action through the Water Framework Directive.  We will not tolerate unnecessary and costly bureaucracy in the farming industry and we are pleased to see that the European Commission has seen sense and withdrawn this proposed legislation from their work programme.”