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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