Some countries addressed very specific national issues. In Italy, for instance, the issue of slope stability and the threat of landslides were considered urgent priorities in national soil protection legislation.

The EU Soil Thematic Strategy

These highly diversified approaches to soil protection in various European countries needed to be addressed once the European Union was established. Only at a very late stage of European integration was the issue of soil protection considered. After that, other environmental areas, like air, water, nature (biodiversity), were covered by coherent EU-wide approaches.

Following extensive preparatory work and public consultation, the European Commission took the initiative in 2006 to present a coherent EU Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection. The Strategy includes several very innovative aspects, like the focus on soil functions, and then on soils per se, thus putting at the centre of legislation the need to protect for the public good the soil functions that deliver services to all of us.