LANCASTER (CU)_ Landfills are sites for the dumping of waste material across the world. The UK sees millions of tonnes of one of our most valuable non-renewable resources which is soil enter landfill as a result of construction activities annually. Crushed and packed with the aid of heavy machinery, excavated and disposed of as landfill during ground preparation activities, contaminated, degraded and covered over with tarmac, soil which is frequently at the bottom of the list of priorities for building and planning activities. The fact of the matter is that soils are non-renewable and offer a host of vital eco system services, such as taking in carbon and blocking flooding.
A group of experts, with academics at Lancaster University, has been working on a design to put a healthy respect for soil at the area of planning and construction. The collaboration of professionals from across soil science, local authorities, landscape architecture, master planning, architecture and urban design, the task force is initiating a new report which pinpoints existing issues and lays out a roadmap to reduce soil damage and ensure future building work supporting the needs of people and the natural environment.
Professor Jess Davies of Lancaster University stated that soils provide a multitude of vital functions for society including having a key role in tackling both the climate and biodiversity crisis. Yet, soil is routinely undervalued, destroyed and disposed of during planning and construction.
“Whilst only a small fraction of land is built upon, the scale of damage done to this non-renewable resource and living ecosystem is vast. Almost thirty million tonnes of soil are sent to landfill in the UK every year – ten times greater than estimates of what is lost from landscapes via soil erosion,” said Professor John Quinton.
The partnership between academic institutions and industries can be step in the right direction to address the pressing issues surrounding landfills.