New website which dishes up the dirt

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AT least 80 years of information about the country’s soils went online last week with the launch of the Scottish Government Scotland’s Soils website.

Officials worked with the James Hutton Institute, SEPA, SNH, Forestry Commission Scotland and Ricardo-AEA to create the website to help land managers, public bodies, scientists and others.

Environment minister and Berwickshire MSP Paul Wheelhouse said: “It is impossible to overstate the importance of soil as a natural asset to our health and wellbeing, given entire ecosystems depend on it and it is a key determinant of the success of our food and drink sector, as well as a crucial sink for damaging greenhouse gases. It is vital we do all we can to manage and protect it. Putting information into everyone’s hands.

“This site aims to be a source of authoritative and scientifically-robust data, which will grow and develop as new material becomes available over time.”

Permaculture Scotland chairman, Graham Bell from Coldstream, said: “The sustainability of everything we do is rooted in our soils. Scotland has led the world in geology and soils science, latterly through the Macaulay Land Use Institute and today through the James Hutton Institute, named for the founding father of geology.

“This recognition for the importance of our soils is something we build on day to day. The Scottish Government’s recognition of its importance is vital to the future of all or lives.”