JTP is pleased to announce that JTP Partner, Charles Campion, has been invited to be a member of Lancaster University’s Soils in Planning and Construction Task Force to change the way we consider and manage soils throughout the planning and construction process to prevent soil degradation and promote functioning soils in development.
Soils are under threat from unsustainable approaches to development. In the UK in 2016, 51 million tonnes of soil were excavated in construction projects of which approximately half of which went to landfill. This is ten times the amount (2.6 million tonnes) lost into watercourses through soil erosion.
On construction sites, the land is routinely compacted by heavy machinery leading to irreversible damage to its structure, and the increased sealing of surfaces with impermeable materials, such as tarmac and paving, contributes to the loss of soil’s ability to function and increased surface water run-off and flooding. The storage of earth heaps on sites can also lead to physical and chemical damage and is detrimental to the organisms within which are vital for maintaining a healthy environment for ecosystems to operate.
The Task Force has been established to highlight the future management of soils during the construction process and is made up of professionals from across soil science, local authorities, urban design and landscape architecture. The aim is to protect and improve our valuable soil resources, enabling it in the built environment to provide crucial ecology services that support thriving places to live and work for both nature and people.
The Task Force is based at Lancaster University in the Lancaster Environment Centre, and is made up of academic researchers and partners from Lancaster City Council, Cornwall Council, Farrer Huxley and JTP.
Task Force objectives are to:
- Highlight the scale of soil degradation associated with construction and set out opportunities to address this issue;
- Describe current limitations of guidance and policy and set out the scientific basis for improvements;
- Engage with experts across planning, construction and development, design, waste management and soil science;
- Develop and communicate a set of guiding principles for sustainable soil management in construction
There is huge potential for soil to play a positive role in the creation of new neighbourhoods and places across the UK. By changing the approach to the planning and management of soils during the construction period, it presents an opportunity to retain carbon, reduce flooding risks and support biodiversity for our environment.
For more information, please contact please email Roisin O’Riordan at email@example.com or Charles Campion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A one-page summary of the Task Force plans can also be downloaded here.