The North Sea region is an area of intensive farming characterised by rapid soil degradation, a challenge that cannot be mitigated by currently available solutions like compost products or biological wastes. Still, the demand for soil-improvers for these intensively utilised soils increases. The main barriers to meet this urgent need are a) a lack of suitable and stabilised soil amendments for resource-efficient improvements of soil quality and b) the absence of an alignment in demands and risks in European and national regulations. These shared territorial challenges will be tackled in this project by
i) designing and producing tailor-made composts based on biological wastes, both at on-farm (local) and compost-company (regional) scale;
ii) testing and defining quality standards for composts for specific uses instead of general applications;
iii) increasing the awareness, production and use of compost; and
iv) developing guidelines to align and improve certification and regulation for quality compost in the North Sea Region.
This project will involve research/extension centres, compost and horticultural producers and regional authorities in five North Sea Regions to align with local, regional, and trans-European needs and barriers. Eventually, SOILCOM will transform ‘waste’ to ‘resource’, supporting EU policy on circular economy and increasing carbon storage, water and nutrient use efficiency, productivity of horticultural and compost enterprises, and reducing pesticide use.