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The direct and indirect impacts of EU policies on land

The report ‘The direct and indirect impacts of EU policies on land,’ looks at : key aspects of land use, including land take, which is when land is ‘taken’ or developed for infrastructure such as roads, or rail networks can lead to land degradation and have a negative impact on the natural functioning of soils. Land take involves soil sealing, which can lead to soil biodiversity loss. Land degradation includes erosion and the loss of organic matter in the soils.

 

Key Findings

  • The evaluation highlights the need to further integrate EU land objectives in the four policy areas.
  • The report identified the increased covering up of soil by concrete or pavement (soil sealing), the fragmentation of the landscape due to transport networks, and land degradation due to intensive agriculture and biofuel production, as key challenges.
  • The four EU policies have major impacts on land use. And all four provide an opportunity to integrate better land use practices across the entire EU, and across borders. Without these EU policies, coherent and effective integration of land use practices cannot be possible.
  • Future policy making on land should consider setting targets on better land use as part of new EU policy on land as a resource. These can help prevent degradation and other negative impacts. The use of environmental impact assessments should be reinforced.

Placing a monetary value on the ecosystem services lost through land take and land degradation should also be considered as part of an EU policy making, assessment and evaluation process.