A new partnership between the Institute of Quarrying (IQ) and Natural England has been created to update the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs' (DEFRA) ‘Good Practice for Handling Soils’.The original guide was first published in 2000 by the then Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF). The guidance was written specifically to help the mineral industry and its contractors to achieve a good standard of restoration when using various combinations of earth-moving machinery for soil stripping, storage and replacement.
A subsequent meeting between IQ, Natural England and Professor Neil Humphries, the eminent British land-reclamation specialist, agreed the need for a new ‘Soil Handling Guidance Steering Group’. The first meeting of the steering group took place at the Institute of Quarrying’s offices in Nottingham. It was attended by a wide-ranging audience representing all aspects of industry, including Natural England, Surrey County Council, Durham County Council, a number of sector consultants, as well as quarry operators and mining, the British Society of Soil Science, High Speed 2 (HS2) and interested contractors.
Julian Smallshaw is IQ’s Head of Education and Standards. He explains: “The original soil guidance published by MAFF is still widely used by the minerals industry, planning authorities and their advisors. In fact, it has become a go-to reference document.
“Over the past 18 years there have been considerable changes in the preference and availability of machinery, working practices and expectations, and hence the need for the updating of the guidance. The aim is to reissue the updated guidance during 2020 when it will become part of the IQ ACADEMY’s training and learning series as an industry-led initiative.”
The next meeting of the steering group takes place in April 2020.