Invasive alien species (IAS) cost the EU an estimated EUR 12 billion per year, prompting the European Commission to push for an EU-wide approach to tackle the issue. The phenomenon, which occurs when plants and animals are deliberately or unintentionally introduced by human action to a new environment where they establish, reproduce and proliferate, is causing serious problems for biodiversity. The dedicated legal instrument aims to tackle the problem through a new harmonised system and a shift from “cure” to “prevention”.
Soil sealing means covering soil with an impermeable surface such as asphalt or concrete to make way for roads, houses, schools, offices and parking zones - symbols of urban growth. As Europe’s population increases, the continent grows ever closer to running out of the space needed to maintain its people.
Soil embraces a number of essential functions for life including for agriculture and the provision of locally-produced food; for regulating water flows to prevent floods and the overloading of sewage systems; for storing large quantities of carbon, thereby helping to fight climate change; as an important reserve of biodiversity and for the provision of green, recreational spaces. A combination of factors - including ill-conceived urban planning strategies, excessive land consumption and inefficiently-used land where infrastructures, such as warehouses, stand empty in villages and towns – has led to an urgent need for concrete measures and the promotion of an integrated approach at EU and national level.
For journalists interested in covering this topic, we are offering a VNR free of charge and copyright which includes assorted interviews and high-quality footage – including some aerial shots of the European landscape - from:
- Italy, where in the Parma municipality, part of the so-called “Food Valley”, agricultural land the size of a football pitch is lost to soil sealing every day;
- Austria, where empty and abandoned plots are being revitalised;
- Belgium, where measures are being taken in local communities to rehabilitate many soil-sealed areas.