Healthy soil is at the heart of agriculture and in maintaining quality food production. Soil is also the largest carbon store on earth, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change and preserve biodiversity.
Yet industry is paying over to €3.5b per annum to dispose of waste soil from building sites across the UK and France, while food security and agricultural sustainability remain two of the great global challenges of the 21st century.
The construction industry wants to find new ways to reuse waste soils safely, especially where it contributes to reduced carbon emissions and acts as a low carbon technology.
By combining industrial expertise with research, Reconstructed Soils from Waste (ReCon Soil) will develop and roll out three new reconstructed soils (low carbon technologies), made from locally sourced construction waste and agricultural by-products. These will reduce carbon emissions and improve carbon storage through soil improvements.
The project, led by University of Plymouth, will also develop a blueprint for developing reconstructed soils, five new low carbon technology networks and train 200 workers, helping to take reconstructed soils from research to commercialisation and increase demand, supply and uptake of this low carbon technology.
ReCon Soil will also improve risk prevention and capacity to adapt to and mitigate climate change in the Channel area, by retaining soils in their original habitat, while using reconstructed soils to help minimise further erosion of degraded areas.