Soil: Droughts

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 26th July 2022.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is he taking to protect soil health from the impact of drought.

Photo of Steve Double Steve Double The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Several soil health measures are currently being developed to improve and protect the resilience of our soil, so that it functions effectively to enable water to be retained through increased organic matter content and allowing aquifers to remain fuller for longer during prolonged dry seasons.

Measures include the new Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) and Local Nature Recovery which support sustainable approaches to farm husbandry that will improve and protect soil health. For example, SFI will incentivise management practices such the use of herbal leys, and grass-legume mixtures or cover crops. These actions help to build levels of organic matter and avoid compaction to allow soil to function effectively.

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