The Scottish Soil Framework

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CHAPTER 7 : FUTURE FOCUS, OUTCOMES & ACTIONS

7.1 Scotland's soils are one of the Nation's greatest natural assets. The purpose of the Framework is to ensure more sustainable management of this asset. In this Chapter, specific outcomes are listed that ensure continued ability of Scottish soils to contribute to environmental as well as economic and societal interests. The Framework also sets out a range of actions to which Scottish Government and delivery organisations are already committed. These will contribute towards achieving the soil outcomes. Additional actions are expected to be identified by the future Soil Focus Group.

7.2 The publication of the Scottish Soil Framework will be the first step in raising awareness of the need for sustainable management of soils, in line with the National Outcome on Natural Resource Protection and Enhancement.

Outcomes

7.3 This Framework has identified 13 Soil Outcomes and explains the threats which they address (Table 7.1). There is a high degree of connectivity between the outcomes: for example, the protection of soil organic matter will help reduce erosion, maintain soil structure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Soil organic matter content is key to the delivery of most soil functions ( Chapter 2), as well as reduction of threats to soils ( Chapter 4). Protection of soil organic matter is therefore one of the key outcomes of the Scottish Soil Framework.

Actions contributing towards outcomes

7.4 In order to achieve the 13 Soil Outcomes, a range of actions and the responsible lead organisations are outlined in Table 7.2. Several actions have a number of owners, indicating that joint effort is required. Scottish Government, through the Soil Focus Group will report publicly on progress on the actions and achievement.

Soil Focus Group

7.5 The realisation of the outcomes will depend critically on all stakeholders and delivery agents working jointly, sharing knowledge, information and resources, aligning roles and responsibilities for soil protection. To this end, a Soil Focus Group will be established, which will act as a platform for liaison amongst stakeholders. The Group will advise on policy review and development in areas relevant for sustainable soil use and management.

It is expected that the Group will contribute to the delivery of outcomes through

  • awareness raising
  • policy integration
  • improving accessibility of information and data
  • knowledge exchange and research.

Soil Focus Group - Programme of Work

7.6 The Group will work together to develop and build on the activities set out on this Framework, agreeing a detailed programme of work to be taken forward jointly by members. However, the following key areas are important priorities for Scotland, and will need specific consideration:

  • Climate Change - soils are affected by a changing climate, and can themselves contribute to climate change through greenhouse gas emission.
  • Flooding - soil management plays a central role in sustainable flood management.
  • National Food Policy - there is a need for Scotland's soils to retain their capacity to produce sufficient and high quality food.
  • Water Quality - soil management and water quality are intrinsically linked.

7.7 The Soil Focus Group will be flexible to adapt and respond to changes in the policy context at both national and European level, where negotiations on the proposed Soil Framework Directive are ongoing, and will provide advice to Scottish Government accordingly. It is also expected that the Group will revisit the information contained in the expert reports produced during the development of the Soil Framework ( a). Terms of Reference for the Soil Focus Group are set out in Annex B.

Research - Links to Soils Research Consultative Group

7.8 The use of sound information and evidence to underpin our actions is essential to achieving the Soil Outcomes. Continued engagement between stakeholders and the research community is key to this. Scottish Government funds a substantial research portfolio Protecting the Nation's Soils. This reflects not only the key role that soils play in delivering both economic and environmental benefits, but also the lack of knowledge and scientific uncertainty on many fundamental soil processes.

7.9 As part of this research portfolio, the Soils Research Consultative Group provides a forum for key stakeholders and Scottish Governments Main Research Providers. It aims to facilitate communication between scientists and research users: for scientists to provide information on key research outputs on a regular basis; for the stakeholders to advise the research community on their priorities and to support their activities where appropriate. Given the key role which evidence plays in policy making, the Soils Research Consultative Group will be closely linked to the Soil Focus Group. Some key research outputs from Scottish Government funded research are set out in Box 7.1.

Box 7.1: Key Research Outputs

  • Risk Maps for soil erosion, soil compaction, organic matter decline and vulnerability to heavy metal pollution
  • Opportunity Maps indicating the suitability for recycling organic materials.
  • Soil Monitoring: recommendation on tools, methods and procedures
  • Guidance on soil management to minimise emission of greenhouse gases and to increase carbon sequestration
  • Scotland's greenhouse gas emission reduction target: estimation of potential for soils to sequester carbon
  • Web delivery of soil data & information to the wider public
  • Land Capability for Agriculture: production of updated and fully digital national maps

Table 7.1 Soil Outcomes identified in the Scottish Soil Framework & the threats which they address.

Table 7.1 Soil Outcomes identified in the Scottish Soil Framework & the threats which they address.

Table 7.2 Summary of Actions

ACTION

DETAIL

DELIVERY DATE

RELATED SOIL OUTCOMES

OWNER

Overarching

Establishment of Soil Focus Group

Soil Focus Group, an informal group consisting of stakeholders including SNH, HS, FCS, SEPA, SRPBA, NFUS, Crofters Commission, Environment LINK, local authorities and SG policy leads and other key stakeholders will define the programme of work to be taken forward in the context of the Soil Framework

2009

Primary:
Outcome 13
Secondary:
All other outcomes

SG Soils Team

Awareness raising in policy development

The Scottish Government together with the Soil Focus Group will identify ways to increase the awareness of soils during all stages of policy development to safeguard Scottish soils and encourage increased linkage with other policy development.

Ongoing

Primarily:
Outcome 12, 13
Secondary:
All Outcomes

SG Soils Team
in conjunction with Soil Focus Group

Reporting & review

Five year review of Framework

This document will be reviewed and updated as appropriate after 5 years.

By 2014

Primary:
Outcome 12, 13
Secondary:
All Outcomes

SG Soils Team
in conjunction with Soil Focus Group

Progress reports

Regular reports will be produced to update stakeholders on relevant developments, where progress has been made and where next efforts need to lie.

Ongoing

Primary:
Outcome 12, 13
Secondary:
All Outcomes

SG Soils Team
in conjunction with Soil Focus Group

Knowledge exchange and awareness raising

State of Scotland's Soil report 2011

The Scottish Government will support SEPA in publishing a State of Scotland's Soils report in partnership with external organisations in 2011.

2011

Primary:
Outcome 12

SEPA, SNH, SG Soils Team in conjunction with Soil Focus Group,
Main Research Providers

Conference on the outcomes of existing research programme

The Scottish Government will host a conference to publicise the outcomes of the programme of research 'Protecting the Nation's Soils'

By 2012

Primary:
Outcome 12
Secondary:
All other outcomes

Main Research Providers, SG Soils Team, SGRERAD

Training on soil protection

The Scottish Government will continue to support SEPA in providing training on soil protection to their staff and to other organisations.

Ongoing

Primary:
Outcomes 1-9

SEPA
SG Soils Team

Raising the public awareness of soil

The Scottish Government will work with others to develop novel materials that help to create a better public awareness of soils.

By 2011

Primary:
Outcome 12,13

Secondary:
All other outcomes

SG Soils Team
Soil Focus Group

Research, information and soil monitoring

Information availability

Web delivery of soil information will be available from the National Soils database at the Macaulay Institute allowing stakeholders the ability to compare their soils data with National data.

Piloted during 2009
Final delivery 2011

Primary:
Outcome 12
Secondary:
All other Outcomes

Main Research Providers, SG Soils Team, SGRERAD

Scottish soil monitoring network

The Scottish Government will help to develop a soil monitoring network, taking account of recommendations on suitable tools, methods, & procedures for soil monitoring in Scotland from Scottish Government funded research as well as findings of the UK Soil Indicators Consortium.

By 2011

Primary:
Outcomes 1-8, 10, 12

SG Soils Team in conjunction with Soil Focus Group,
SGRERAD
Main Research Providers, SEPA

Land use and management

Common Agricultural Policy Health Check

The Scottish Government will consult on the implications for Scotland of the Health Check of the Common Agricultural Policy, in consultation with external stakeholders, to deliver an effective outcome for Scotland. This will include proposed changes to Cross Compliance requirements.

2009

Primary:
Outcomes 1,2,3
Secondary:
Outcomes 4,5,6,7,8

SG Rural Group
SG Soils Team in conjunction with Soil Focus Group

Scotland Rural Development Programme review

The Scottish Government will evaluate the effectiveness of existing measures and, in the light of emerging research evidence, review soil measures as part of the SRDP. This will focus on measures helping to maintain and enhance carbon storage in soils, restore and protect peatlands and also measures to protect water quality.

To be confirmed

Primary:
Outcomes 1,4,7
Secondary:
Outcomes 2,3,5,6,8

SG Rural Group
SG Soils Team in conjunction with Soil Focus Group

Revision of the PEPFAA Code

The Scottish Government will revise the Prevention of Pollution From Agricultural Activities Code, including specific soil protection advice.

Late 2009

Primary:
Outcomes 1,2,3,4,5,7
Secondary:
Outcomes 8,9

SG Rural Group

Review Land Capability for Agriculture Assessment

The Scottish Government will review the Land Capability for Agriculture ( LCA) Assessment in the light of implications of climate change and produce an updated and fully digital LCA assessment.

Ongoing

Primary:
Outcome 8 and 10
Secondary:
Outcomes 1 to 7

SGRERAD,
Macaulay Institute

Use of land for development - data collection

The Scottish Government will explore mechanisms to collect reliable data on the use of land (in particular prime agricultural land) for new development, and in the light of this information consider whether the existing policy for prime agricultural land needs to be reviewed.

To be confirmed

Primary:
Outcome 8 & 10
Secondary:
Outcomes 1 to 7

SGRERAD
SG Soils Team
SG Planning

Review of Sewage Sludge Directive

The Scottish Government will participate fully in the proposed review of the Sewage Sludge Directive taking into account latest research results on the impacts of metals on soils.

Ongoing

Primary:
Outcomes 5,8
Secondary:
Outcomes 1,9

SG Waste & Pollution Reduction Division; SEPA

Review controls on Sewage Sludge for land restoration

Guidance on the use of sewage sludge for land restoration and in forestry will be completed in 2010

2010

Primary:
Outcomes 5,7,9
Secondary:
Outcome 1,8

SEPA

Support annual reporting of monitoring of organic material to soil regulated activities

The Scottish Government will support SEPA in the delivery and annual reporting on risk based soil compliance monitoring of regulated activities involving use of organic materials on soils.

Ongoing/ annual

Primary:
Outcomes 5,7
Secondary:
Outcome 8,9

SEPA

Ensure forestry good practice guidance to promote sustainable soil management ( SSM) remains fit for purpose

Forestry Commission Scotland will continue to work through Forest Research to develop best practice guidance to promote the understanding and delivery of SSM measures in the forestry sector.

Ongoing

Primary:
Outcomes 1,2,4,6,7,8
Secondary:
Outcomes 3,5

Forestry Commission Scotland

Review UK Forestry Standard and the supporting Guidelines

Review UK Forestry Standard and the supporting Guidelines - Forestry Commission Scotland will undertake a comprehensive review of the UK Forestry Standard and its associated suite of Guidelines (such as the Forests & Soils Guidelines and Forests & Water Guidelines), to ensure that they remain fit for purpose.

By 2012

Primary:
Outcomes 1,2,3,4, 5,6,7,8,11

Forestry Commission Scotland

Delivery of sustainable forest management

FCS will work to ensure the effective implementation of the UKFS and its associated suite of Guidelines.

Ongoing

Primary:
Outcomes 1,2,3,4, 5,6,7, 8

Forestry Commission Scotland

Delivery of the Scottish Forestry Strategy

FCS will work with its partners to deliver the actions laid down in the Scottish Soils Framework and the annual SFS implementation plans to promote and deliver the sustainable management of soils.

Ongoing

Primary:
Outcomes 1,2,3,4, 5,6,7,8 & 13

Forestry Commission Scotland

Stump harvesting guidance

Publish interim guidance on site selection for stump harvesting.

2009

Primary:
Outcomes 1,2,3,4, 5,6,7 & 8

Forestry Commission Scotland

Water Quality and Flooding

Consider role of soils in flood risk management

As part of draft legislation on Flood Risk Management introduced to Parliament in 2009, SEPA and responsible authorities will specifically consider the role soil management plays as part of sustainable flood risk management.

By 2010

Primary:
Outcome 6
Secondary:
Outcomes 1,2,3,4&7

SG Flooding Policy Team;
SEPA and responsible authorities

Formalise links between soil management and water protection measures

A formal linkage will be made between the SSF and the WFD River Basin Management Plans for the Scotland and Solway Tweed basin districts to ensure maximum benefit for both soil and water quality is realised from the proposed measures.

2009

Primary:
Outcome 7
Secondary:
Outcome 2

SEPA
SGWFD Team
SG Soils Team

Conservation & Biodiversity

Soils within designated sites

SNH and the Scottish Government will consider how soils and below ground biodiversity can be given more consideration in the management of sites designated for their nature conservation interest.

Ongoing

Primary:
Outcome 5
Secondary:
Outcomes 1 & 11

SNH
SG Soils Team
SG Habitats Division

Peat protection

Scottish Government together with key stakeholders will consider ways to coordinate peat protection and restoration in Scotland.

Ongoing

Primary:
Outcome 1,4, 5
Secondary:
Outcomes 2, 13

SG Soils Team in conjunction with Soil Focus Group

Soils as part of broader geodiversity management

Development of Scottish geodiversity framework activities will give appropriate consideration to soils' values and functions.

ongoing

Primary:
Outcome 2,3, 6
Secondary:
Outcomes 13


SNH with support from Soil Focus group

Pollution

Review of policies to prevent acidification & eutrophication

The Scottish Government will participate fully in both the National Emission Ceilings Directive and the Protocols under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe ( UNECE) Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution these reviews to achieve an effective outcome for Scottish soils.

2009

Primary:
Outcome 5, 9
Secondary:
Outcome 1, 8

SG Air Noise & Nuisance Team

State of Contaminated Land Report

The Scottish Government will support SEPA in the preparation and publication of a State of Contaminated Land Report in 2009.

2009

Primary:
Outcome 9 & 10
Secondary:
Outcome 5, 7, 8

SEPA
SG Soils Team

Cultural Heritage

Specific and general historic environment guidance review

The Scottish Government, through Historic Scotland, will consider the need for specific historic environment guidance on soils and for more reference to soils in historic environment guidance in general.

Ongoing

Primary:
Outcome 11

Historic Scotland

Proposed EU Soils Framework Directive

Active participation in Soils Framework Directive negotiations

The Scottish Government will actively participate in the negotiation of the EU Soil Framework Directive to achieve a proportionate and effective outcome for Scotland.

Ongoing

Primary:
All Outcomes

SG Soils Team

Climate Change

Enhance knowledge on carbon dynamics in soils

The Scottish Government will continue to support research on trends in soil organic matter and greenhouse gas emissions from soils as affected by climate and/or land use and management.

Ongoing

Primary:
Outcomes 1&4
Secondary:
Outcomes 2,3,5,6,7&8

SGRERAD
SG Climate Change Division
SG Soils Team

Identify soil management practices that optimise soil carbon sequestration

Produce guidance for the sustainable use of soils and protection of soil carbon including an assessment of the realistic potential for Scottish soils to sequester carbon and to contribute to the SG 80% GHG emissions reduction target.

Ongoing

Primary:
Outcomes 1,4 & 12
Secondary:
Outcomes 2,3,5,6,7&8

SG Soils Team in conjunction with Soil Focus Group and main research providers

SNH guidance on soil carbon in peatlands

SNH will review its involvement in activities and policies relating to the soil, taking into account of the need to protect soil organic carbon, as a means of mitigating climate change.

2010

Primary:
Outcomes 1&4
Secondary:

Outcomes 2,3,5,6,7&8

SNH

Forest Carbon Standard and Climate Change Guidelines

The Forestry Commission will produce new Forests and Climate Change Guidelines which will provide over-arching principles of good carbon management and standards for the industry.

2010

Primary:
Outcomes 1&4
Secondary:
Outcomes 2,3,5,6,7&8

Forestry Commission Scotland

Forest Carbon review

Forest Research will publish a review to summarise the key information on the stocks and fluxes of carbon and the fluxes of other greenhouse gases in UK forests and how these are affected by forest dynamics, management and operations. This will include forest soil considerations.

2009

Primary:
Outcomes 1&4
Secondary:
Outcomes 2,3,5,6,7&8

Forestry Commission Scotland

Climate Change Action Plan

FCS will work with its partners to deliver the actions identified in the Climate Change Action Plan to contribute to the sustainable management of forest soils.

By 2012

Primary:
Outcomes 1, 4, 13
Secondary:
Outcomes 2,3,5,6,7&8

Forestry Commission Scotland

Sustainable Forest Management

Publish guidance on the use of Lower Impact Silvicultural Systems ( LISS) as a climate change adaptation measure, including soil considerations.

In 2009

Primary:
Outcomes 1&4
Secondary:
Outcomes 2,3,5,6,7&8

Forestry Commission Scotland