Project SOILval – Recognising SOil values in land use planning systems

Project coördinator

BRGM, France


12 months


€ 202.467,-


Recognising SOil values in land use planning systems  (SOILval)

The overall aim of the SOILval project is to assess whether and how soil biodiversity, functions and related Ecosystem Services (ES) (‘soil values’) are or could be better recognised in land use planning systems in France and Wallonia in the perspective of ‘no net land take’ objective by 2050.

Far from being only a simple physical substrate for urban development, agriculture and infrastructures, soils and their biodiversity, functions and associated ecosystem services (here after ‘soil values’) provide for multiple key benefits to society, from carbon storage, timber and crops production and water purification to recreational activities. In absence of an integrated and coherent soil protection and restoration regulatory framework, soil values are currently hardly taken into account in land use planning law and practices. However, the recent ‘No Net Land Take by 2050’ objective set up by the EU Commission and by an increasing number of Member States may encourage the development of integrated land and soil protection and sustainable management solutions in land use planning policies, such as integrated green infrastructure planning, protected areas, nature-based solutions, compensatory mitigation hierarchy, de-sealing and brownfield regeneration and ES assessments.

In this context, the SOILval project will aim specifically at:

  • Improving knowledge of technical solutions and land management tools integrating soil values in land use planning in France and Wallonia;
  • Assessing the degree and legal challenges of integration of soil values into land use planning instruments and decision-making processes in EU law and in domestic law;
  • Improving knowledge of the stakeholders’ perception of their needs, difficulties, feedback regarding the feasibility of solutions, tools and legal instruments studied in 1) and 2);
  • Drawing recommendations from steps 1) to 3) to enhance integration of soil values into land use planning systems in France and Wallonia in the context of “No net land take by 2050”.

SOILval project team will first carry out an in-depth technical literature review and legal analysis to draw the current state of the art on soil values integration techniques and instruments in land use planning and their level of operability/ legal feasibility. Based on their strong network of land management actors, project partners will gather relevant stakeholders to undertake targeted consultations. Finally, recommendations will be drawn from former steps to promote sound, robust and shared solutions to soil values integration into land use planning systems in France and Wallonia.

The results of the project will be disseminated to a wide range of French and Walloon public and private stakeholders (planning authorities, public/private developers, land use planners, environmental consultancies, NGO etc.) involved in land use decision-making processes through communication supports adapted to the different type of audience (fact sheets, R&D topic note, two policy briefs).

The project team gathers French and Walloon legal and scientific soil experts. BRGM (coordinator) brings expertise in soil values evaluation, sustainable contaminated land management and science-stakeholder interface (Elsa Limasset, Corinne Merly, Dr Maha Chalhoub), Maylis Desrousseaux (CNAM) is an associate professor in environmental law, interested in soil quality. Dr. Florence Baptist, brings expertise in ecological functionality assessment and ES evaluation. UCLOUVAIN brings expertise in Walloon spatial planning and territorial development strategies, (Pr. Yves Hanin, Fiorella Quadu, CREAT-UCL), and experience in legal analysis of interactions between urban planning and biodiversity (Pr. Ch-H Born, SERES-UCL). SOILval expertise is complementary, providing multi-disciplinary skills.

UCLOUVAIN (Belgium- W)
CNAM (France)
BIOTOPE (France)

Kick off meeting 17th November 2020
Presentation SOILval



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Project coördinator

INERIS, France


12 months


€ 152.000


MISSOURI focuses on microplastics (MP) in soil and groundwater and aims at conducting a state-of-the-art review along a “sources-transfer-exposure” continuum and organizing a European-scale interlaboratory study in order to provide recommendations on separation and analytical methods in an idea of harmonization.


Microplastics in marine and surface waters have been studied for many years whereas soil and groundwater are emerging environmental compartments for undergoing studies. The MISSOURI project has two major goals:

  • to conduct a state-of-the-art review on microplastics in soil and groundwater and other relevant terrestrial connected media (e.g. plants);
  • to organize an European-scale interlaboratory study (ILS) on the determination of microplastics in soil (separation and analytical methods).

This work aims at proposing a harmonized definition for microplastics, a set of laboratory methods for the separation and analysis of microplastics in soils and at identifying priorities for future projects. It also aims at giving first recommendations for decision-making and management of soil quality regarding the potential risks associated with microplastics in soil and groundwater.

The strength of the MISSOURI project lies on a survey (fall 2020) that involves experts, stakeholders and end-users in order to collect on one hand their current difficulties and concerns encountered with MP management and treatment, and the other hand their expectations on data collection and future studies.

State-of-the-art review

It will address the following topics for microplastics:

  • emission sources specific to soil and groundwater;
  • polymer types and their toxicity;
  • existing methods for sampling and characterizing soil and groundwater samples;
  • interactions of plastics with the terrestrial biota;
  • main entry routes into environmental compartments (soil, groundwater and terrestrial food chain) and potential exposure pathways for humans;
  • transport mechanisms and their scales;
  • observed/expected impacts on terrestrial ecosystems and Human health.

European-scale interlaboratory study

The consortium will participate to an interlaboratory study (ILS) on the Analysis of Microplastics in Environmental Matrices organized by WEPAL/QUASIMEME. This study will focus on the characterization of microplastics in environmental matrices including soils. There is little to no standardization work taking place and existing methods have not been compared so far. The comparison of existing methods on “reference soil samples” prepared on purpose for this project at a European scale is therefore an innovation. It will help to understand and quantify the differences among existing methods and propose reference protocols applicable to plastic fractions. The ILS will be based on one synthetic soil sample (silica sand) and one real soil sample (sandy soil) spiked with microplastics. This will ensure both comparability of methods in well-controlled situations and applicability to real samples.

The MISSOURI project is led by Ineris (France) in charge of overall coordination and state-of-the-art review in partnership with the Stichting Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam (VU; Netherlands) in charge of the ILS coordination and ISSeP (Wallonia) in charge of soil spiking. This partnership builds upon the capacity of each partner to collect, understand, analyze, criticize, propose and disseminate knowledge on microplastics in soil and groundwater.

VU, the Netherlands
ISSeP, Belgium- W

Kick off meeting 17th November 2020
Presentation MISSOURI


Project PREMISS – Priorisation of emerging chemical compounds in soils

Project coördinator

BRGM, France


12 months


€ 253.786,-


PREMISS project deals with Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) focussing on soils and sub-surface media. The aim of PREMISS is to build a robust and flexible prioritization prototype, enabling update and improvement such as substance and data addition.

To offset the current lack of data, PREMISS team aims to develop a modular prototype prioritisation tool for CECs allowing the estimation of CECs occurrence and their associated risks in the soil and the sub-soil for various levels of data availability (including missing or partial information).

For that, several complementary tasks are planned:

  • Compilation of existing occurrence data of CECs in soils and the sub-soil
  • Review of existing data on sources and emissions on CECs
  • Calculation of CECs expected soil occurrence from sources and emissions data through compound-specific fate, transport and physico-chemical properties for model substances.
  • Assessment of risks from CECs present in soils and the sub-soil to human health and to the environment
  • Stakeholders’ involvement to define prioritisation needs and expectations and draw recommandations

Anthropogenic activities (agricultural, industrial and households) release thousands of synthetic chemicals in the air, soil, and water [1] environmental compartment. These substances, which fall under the REACH regulation are potential candidates as Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) regard to environmental quality. Despite the fact that CECs have risen increasing attention and work over the past recent years for the water compartment (surface water mainly), there has been hardly no attention to soil as a receptor of CECs. PREMISS project proposes to develop a prioritisation approach 1) to assess which CECs is likely be present in soils and subsoils, 2) to evaluate which of these CECs may pose human health and/or environmental risks and 3) to select which CECs require most attention and additional understanding, from management, policy and R&D perspectives.

One of the major challenges of the project is to develop a robust methodology. The challenge lies in the very large number of chemical substances to consider and the lack of existing data. The lack of existing data results in uncertainties associated to the assessment of substances fate and transport and their potential toxicity. Based on methodologies and tools already tested for the water media (surface and groundwater), the PREMISS team proposes to develop a rational strategy for CECs prioritisation applicable to soil and sub-surface. The PREMISS prioritisation approach will be driven by three principles: a) using the Source-Pathway-Receptor conceptual scheme for risk assessment; b) combining existing field data and calculated data; c) involving stakeholders to define their needs and draft recommendations.

The prioritisation approach will have the following specific objectives:

  • Develop a modular prototype prioritisation tool for CECs enabling the estimation of their occurrence and the associated risks in the soil and the sub-soil for various levels of data availability (including missing or partial information), based on:
  • Test the robustness of this prioritisation tool for a selection of CECs and make recommendations for future development
  • Based on the prioritisation approach and its results, propose opportunities for CECs management and policies (if possible) and recommendations for future R&D work.

The consortium is constituted by research‘s teams from the 3 countries involved in the SOILVER call: RIVM and Deltares for the Netherlands, ISSEP, Arcadis and Witteveen & Bos for Belgium (Wallonia and Flanders) and BRGM for France (project coordinator). This will enable the collection of national data and wider European feedback and experience from their on-going work and current participation in European networks (NORMAN, NICOLE, EmConsoil, CIS Working Group Groundwater, etc.).

DELTARES, The Netherlands
RIVM, The Netherlands
ISSEP, Belgium- W
ARCADIS, Belgium – Fl
Witteveen+Bos, Belgium – Fl

Kick off meeting 17th November 2020
Presentation Premiss