This week the Commission has adopted a Communication on Soil Protection "Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection" (COM(2002)179). This is a first step towards the establishment of the soil thematic strategy foreseen in the 6EAP.
The development of a EU soil protection policy will take time. It will require a precautionary approach based on preventing soil degradation in the future as well as actions for the integration of soil protection objectives into several EU policies. This approach will have both a local and a EU dimension.
The next step will include the preparation of proposals on a series of environmental measures designed to prevent soil contamination, including legislation related to mining waste, sewage sludge and compost.
The Commission will pursue integration of soil protection concerns in major EU policies. A progress report will be prepared in mid 2004.
In addition, the Commission will prepare the ground for a proposal for soil monitoring legislation to be made in 2004 with the help of Member States, Candidate Countries, EEA and other relevant stakeholders.
Furthermore, a communication dealing with erosion, the decline in soil organic matter and soil contamination including recommendations for actions is foreseen.
The Communication is to be endorsed by the European Council and the Parliament.
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