Soil Surveys, Environmental Assessment & Land Management

Soil Management Plans and Soil Resource Plans

The preparation of a soil management plan and/or soil resource plan is becoming an increasingly common condition of planning permissions to develop greenfield sites. This reflects a growing emphasis on protecting the upper layers of natural soil from loss or degradation, driven by government initiatives such as 'Safeguarding our Soils: a Strategy for England’. One action of that strategy was publication of the DEFRA 'Construction Code of Practice for the Sustainable Use of Soils on Construction Sites'. That introduced the need for a suitably qualified and experienced soil scientist or practitioner to carry out a soil resource survey showing the areas, types and characteristics of topsoil and subsoil available on site. The results of that survey could then be used to formulate a Soil Resource Plan or Soil Management Plan within the working strategy for the construction site.

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As a specialist soil science consultancy and primary author for government of the Construction Code of Practice, Land Research Associates has unrivalled skills and experience to prepare Soil Resource or Management Plans for all types of construction development, not only across greenfield sites but also for brownfield sites that include areas of undisturbed natural soil.

A good soil resource survey will, for example:

  • Delineate and provide descriptions of the different soil types including the thickness and characteristics of the surface and subsurface layers within each type, and the results of laboratory analyses
  • Identify any areas of soil that could be suffering contamination and consequently requiring further investigation
  • Assess the suitability of the different soil resources for re-use on or off site (e.g. as BS 3882 Topsoil or BS8901 Subsoil), matching soil types to landscaping requirements
  • Detail good practice on soil handling, management and the remediation of any soil damage (e.g. compaction) caused during site working

This flow chart itemises the stages that a comprehensive soil management plan should include.

For further information contact us on +44 (0)1509 670570 or email mike.palmer@lra.co.uk