Healthy soils underpin the multiple functions of soils in food production, supporting wildlife, regulating water and regulating climate. More work is being done to define exactly what the indicator will include but it could include physical properties (such as a measure of soil structure), chemical properties (such as soil carbon, nutrients and pH), bare ground (soil) and a measure of soil biological activity. This indicator is not limited to agricultural soils. Further development of statistically and scientifically robust national monitoring programmes may be needed to provide data for this indicator.
Readiness and links to data
This indicator is not available for reporting in 2023 as further development work is required. Some data on aspects of soil health are already published in the Countryside Survey reports but they do not provide a full baseline.
The Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment (NCEA) programme is another body of work being carried out by Defra with soils as a key focus. This will provide high quality data to assess the state and condition of natural capital assets such as soil.