Soil News

Soil facts and figures:

  • 95% of global food supplies are directly or indirectly produced on soil. NFU (2018)
  • One teaspoon of soil contains more living organisms than there are people in the world. FAO (2020)
  • UK soils store over 10 billion tonnes of carbon in the form of organic matter. Roughly equal to 80 years of annual UK greenhouse gas emissions. Environment Agency (2019)
  • It is estimted that in the UK, soil is being destroyed 10 times faster than it is being created. WWF (2018)
  • Around 17% of arable soils in England and Wales show signs of erosion and 40% (2 million ha) are thought to be at risk. Environment Agency (2019)
  • Almost 4 million ha of agricultural land in England and Wales are at risk of compaction, affecting soil fertility, water resouces and increasing flood risk. Environment Agency (2019)
  • In the UK, intensive agriculture has caused arable soils to lose 40-60% of their organic carbon. Environment Agency (2019)
  • The annual costs of soil degradation in England and Wales are between £0.9 and £1.4 billion, with a central estimate of £1.2 bn. These costs are mainly linked to loss of organic content of soils (47% of total), compaction (39%) and erosion (12%). Graves et al (2014)
  • English farmers are losing valuable resources through diffuse pollution. 235,000 tonnes of nitrogen and 8,391 tonnes of phosphorus are lost every year that would otherwise help sustain farming. Defra (2015)
Soil Science