EU Soil Strategy and regulation of soil health

Towards the end of 2021, the European Commission published the EU Soil Strategy for 2030, with the aim to achieve good soil health by 2050. According to the Commission, 60 to 70 per cent of the soil in the EU is not healthy, which is why focus should be placed on raising the level of soil protection. 

The EU Soil Strategy aims to ensure that by 2050:

  • all soil ecosystems in the EU are healthy and more resilient and can thus provide their vital services in future as well,
  • there is no net land take, i.e. new land is no longer taken into use, and soil pollution has fallen to a level at which it no longer causes harm to human health or ecosystems,
  • protection and sustainable management of soil and restoration of degraded soil have become common practices.

As part of the implementation of the strategy, the Commission is preparing a legislative proposal on soil health (Soil Health Law). The proposal is part of the Green Deal, and it is to be published during June-July.

The proposal is likely to include: 

  • various kinds of definitions and indicators related to soil health
  • conditions for sustainable use of soil
  • identification, registration and clean-up of polluted soil
  • soil health monitoring.

The proposal will be negotiated under the codecision procedure. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union may propose changes, or amendments, to the Commission’s legislative proposal. Finland will give its opinions on the forthcoming legislative proposal in accordance with the position decided by the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs.

State of Finland's soil to be analysed during spring 2023

state of soil in Finland and its monitoring is being analysed in a project launched by the Ministry of the Environment. The results will be used in negotiations between the EU and the Member States on the forthcoming legislative proposal on soil health. 

In the study, available information on soil monitoring, surveys and reports will be brought together and, based on these, an assesses will be carried out on the state of soil in Finland. The study is implemented by the Finnish Environment Institute, Natural Resources Institute Finland and Geological Survey of Finland. 

The results of the study will help identify shortcomings and development needs in soil information and monitoring. The study will be completed during June.

The extent to which the EU Soil Strategy and issues raised during the preparation of the Soil Health Directive are relevant for Finland in particular will be assessed as well.

Read more

Legislation on soil protection

Näkökulma (Perspective): Now is the time to act for the soil! (in Finnish)


More information

Hanna Mattila, Senior Specialist 
Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Environmental Protection Department, Climate 0295250426