Nicole Network for Industrially Co-ordinated Sustainable Land Management in Europe News

Workshop & Events

24 & 25 November

NICOLE Fall Workshop 2022 in Athens, Greece

On the 24th and 25th of November, NICOLE and Common Forum will organize a joint workshop in Athens. The joint workshop is supported by the Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy (Greece).

Workshop title:
Applying circularity principles in contaminated land management within the context of the new EU soil strategy.

Workshop date:
23 November 2022 - Working groups day at Amalia Hotel, Athens.
24 and 25 November 2022 - NICOLE & CF joint workshop at the Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy.

Central theme:
Although land is still subject to severe degradation processes, it is probably the most undervalued element of nature. The EU Green Deal (EGD) is the EU’s policy response to the environmental degradation, and the transition to circular economy is one of the corner stones of the EGD. Land and soil are an unquestionably critical parameter of a sustainable Circular Economy as also reflected in the new Circular Economy Action Plan (2020), although even in areas with advanced environmental policy, such as the EU, there is no coherent and strategic policy or legislation dedicated to contaminated soil and land management.

Historically contaminated land management has been a national level policy issue, managed differently by the member states, ranging from advanced to non-existent national contaminated land management policy. In the latter case, contaminated land management is mostly based on other EU policy instruments, such as the Environmental Liability Directive and the Industrial Emissions Directive.

Application of these directives, however, does not effectively satisfy the needs of a robust contaminated land management framework. Greece is one such example of a country without such a framework, where the experience on the subject is still developing. At the same time several mega-projects, brownfield redevelopment, or infrastructure works are already in progress across the country and authorities, services providers and landowners encounter significant decision-making, scientific and management challenges on several topics, such as land transfer, remedial targets and excavated soil reuse. As a consequence, significant negative impacts on planning, the quality of projects, environmental benefits and costs occur in practice.

It is imperative therefore that a coherent EU-wide policy frame and joint tools for contaminated land management are considered to support all Member States in striving for resource efficiency.

The new EU Soil Strategy introduces the concept of “healthy soil” and sets out a framework and concrete measures for soil protection and restoration to ensure the sustainable use of soil by 2050. In this context new policymaking tools regarding, amongst others, excavated soil reuse (“passport for excavated soil”) and the issue of liability transfer (“soil health certificate”) are expected to have a significant role in the new era of contaminated land management and the transition to circular economy in the EU.

This workshop aims to highlight the new opportunities and challenges that the EU Soil Strategy brings and promote feasible solutions in the application of circularity principles to the very demanding and complicated topic of contaminated land management across the EU.

Please see below the call for abstracts, the logistic information and the workshop program.

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