There is a government dishonesty about the Commons Select Committee (Environmental Audit) report on soil health which was released today (25 Oct 18). On one hand, the Committee reports (and no doubt correctly so) that “the target of soil sustainably by 2030 will not be met unless further action is taken, and that failing to prevent soil degradation could lead to increased flood risk, lower food security, and greater carbon emissions.”
Probably right BUT on the other hand, the Environment Agency, in its fear of taking any sort of risk, has altered the regulations on composting so that it is possible to obtain a permit to compost 50 tonnes of material a year without concrete, but more than 50 tonnes pa will need concrete. Now, because of the cost of concrete, that really means to be economic the scale will go up to 25,000 tonnes pa and the cost of that set up will be in excess of £500,000. Nobody will do that without a contract to supply the input waste material. So no one will come into the industry. So, recycling of urban wastes is seriously restricted. AND that is where the organic matter will come from to make the soils sustainable.
Pity that there appears to be little connection between the regulators and the MP’s on the Select Committee.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 25 Oct 18