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Unanimous vote passed to strengthen soil policies across Rushcliffe

Last updated: 9/8/2023

Rushcliffe Borough Council (RBC) has unanimously passed a motion to strengthen policies that protect soil on its land and those of new developments across the Borough.

At a Full Council meeting last month, a motion highlighted the importance of soil health in food production, combatting climate change, storing carbon, regulating water flow and quality and as the basis for biodiversity.

It was formed thanks to joint work from Leake ward member Cllr Carys Thomas, Lady Bay ward member Cllr Sue Mallender and RBC Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment and Safety Cllr Rob Inglis.

Like many places nationally, soil in Rushcliffe can be at risk from an increased built environment, flooding, contamination, industrial farming methods and climate change.

With the motion now passed, RBC will seek to strengthen policies that protect soil in the next round of its Local Plan and in line with current National Planning Policy, include measures to minimise impermeable surfaces in development.

It will also further call on central government to strengthen protection for soil in future planning policy and legislation.

Reviews on its own operations when determining improvements to soil health will take place on its own land and land it manages in line with its Environmental Policy and planning policies and guidance. 

Where possible the authority will also include soil health improvement as one of the criteria used to evaluate bids when distributing relevant external grants to Rushcliffe’s businesses and community groups and include nitrogen fixing plants in future free plant schemes.

These reviews will be in conjunction with providing information and suggestions to residents through Council communications on small scale improvements in soil health in residential gardens such as using organic and permaculture techniques.

Councillor Thomas included the above actions in her motion and for all councillors to collectively recognise the importance of soil and the threat that it is under in Rushcliffe communities.

Responding, Councillor Inglis stated that the Council had a strong record of promoting the protection of soil health.

He outlined the motion will help to ensure, where possible and within Council resources, that practices are embedded within its relevant policies and operational activities, whilst also promoting soil health to local residents and land owners in the Borough.