A Soil Health Action Plan (SHAPE) for England will be published to restore the health of our soils, Lord Goldsmith announced in a speech in the House of Lords yesterday (Wednesday 8 September).
During a debate in the Report Stage of the Environment Bill, Lord Goldsmith confirmed that the plan will be a crucial part of our plan to halt the decline of species by 2030, as well as meeting our long-term legally binding targets on biodiversity.
Soil health is the key to delivering our targets on the environment and improving farm profitability. Well managed soils can lead to increased biodiversity, improved water quality and reduced carbon emissions.
The Soil Health Action Plan (SHAPE) will provide a framework of actions to improve and protect the health of our soils. A further announcement regarding the details will be made shortly and we plan to consult on the draft outline in Spring 2022.
A Defra spokesperson said:
The Soil Health Action Plan for England will be crucial in driving progress across Government to restore the health of our soils. It will also help our efforts to halt the decline of species by 2030 and meet our long-term legally binding targets on biodiversity.
“Further details of the plan will be published shortly.
Our new Sustainable Farming Incentive will eventually be open to every farmer in England and will reward farmers for moving towards more sustainable soil and grassland management. The new system will replace unfair and ineffective Direct Payments with a fairer scheme, boosting productivity and rewarding environmental improvements.