Scotland’s soils provide a range of benefits for people, nature and the economy. However, inappropriate land management threatens this finite natural resource. Soil erosion was identified as one of the main threats to soil in the ‘State of Scotland’s Soil Report’ (2011). Soil loss can result in significant costs, not only to immediate users of soils, but to society as a whole.
A study, published today by The Scottish Government, estimates that the total annual costs of soil erosion in Scotland varies between £31 million and £50 million (when drinking water treatment costs are taken into account). The off-site costs of erosion are shown to be greater than the on-site costs, suggesting it is more cost effective to prevent erosion occurring than to treat the consequences. Understanding the impacts and costs of soil erosion is an important step forward. It will help support and inform policies designed to value the soil resource and to develop methods to mitigate erosion.
The project was carried out by a team led by Prof Jane Rickson at Cranfield University and included colleagues from Cranfield University and the James Hutton Institute.
Download the report from the Scottish Government Website.
Rickson, R.J., Baggaley, N., Deeks, L.K., Graves, A., Hannam, J., Keay, C and Lilly, A. (2019). Developing a method to estimate the costs of soil erosion in high risk Scottish catchments. Report to the Scottish Government.
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