Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Climate and energy transition

Soil protection - 16.04.2007

'Let local government protect Europe's soil"
Soil protection is primarily a matter for local governments. This is the core message of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) to the EU thematic strategy on soil protection and directive proposal.
Though CEMR supports the objectives set out by the European Commission on soil protection, it points out that there is a strong commitment of local and regional authorities to improve and protect the quality of soil. Soil is, much more so than air and water which are mobile elements, tied down to its local area.
CEMR also believes that the main regulatory and financial framework should be provided by the national authorities. The EU's role should limit itself to three aspects: to contribute to soil protection by providing some framework to regulate issues that are clearly related to the internal market (economic costs), to provide financial incentives to de-pollute heavily contaminated sites, and to promote research, and the exchange of information, best practice and pool knowledge.
Lastly, CEMR urges for some caution about additional requirements in the future, such as potential quantitative targets on soil. National policy experiences have shown that setting and implementing quantitative targets on soil is already very difficult at the national level; such implementation would be even more difficult at the EU level, given the huge variety of the different local soil conditions.
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