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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-04486: Rachael Hamilton (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 3 November 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to encourage the use of (a) soil analytical technology and (b) other similar approaches in order to protect the (i) land and (ii) environment.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 17 November 2016

The Scottish Government announced the introduction of compulsory soil testing in June 2015 and we have been working on the detail with a range of scientific, environmental and industry stakeholders. We are considering options for compulsory soil testing to be part of the package of measures to reduce emissions from agriculture in the Climate Change Plan, the third report on policies and proposals, which will be published in draft in January next year.

The Knowledge Transfer Innovation Fund (KTIF), is also taking forward a number of projects, for example, the Soil Association Scotland's 'Future Farming Scotland' and 'Farming with Nature' initiatives (as well as a future project 'Farming for the Future'), and Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society's (SAOS) Precision Farming project which enable co-ops to provide farmers with open and transparent data and analytical services, with the benefit of collective investment and risk sharing.

The Farm Advisory Service (FAS) will be taking forward and is responsible for the delivery of the Soil Nutrient Network in relation to soil management.

Through the recently relaunched Scotland's Soils Website (http://soils.environment.gov.scot/) soils data is made publicly available, supporting informed decisions about the management of Scotland's soils and the benefits they provide.