Co-Sponsors: British Society of Soil Science and Food Ethics Council

Thursday 6th December 2012

Committee Room 16, Palace of Westminster




Session one 10-00 -12.00: Chair: The Countess of Mar


(1) Strengths, weaknesses and opportunities regarding UK policy and research relating to the management and use of soils in the farming sector.


Speaker 1: Nic Lampkin (Reading and Organic Research Centre) – “UK Soil Policy and the Farming Sector from a practioners perspective


Speaker 2: Prof. Mark Kibblewhite, Cranfield University – “Providing soil knowledge information to support policy and farming”



(2) Soil knowledge and information.


Speaker 3: Mark Hodgkinson, Independent Agronomist – “Using soil knowledge and information in farming”


Speaker 4: Prof. Louise Heathwaite, Lancaster University – “UK soils research: past, present and future”



Session Two 13.00 -14.30 Chair: Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer


(3) Management challenges and options


Speaker 5: Prof. Phil Haygarth, Lancaster University – “Research challenges in soil use and management – meeting multiple demands”


Speaker 6: Dr Bob Rees, Scottish Agricultural College – “Insights into linking policy and soil management on the ground”


Session 3 15.00-16.30 : Policy Discussion Chair: Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer


To identify and agree a list of key issues which would improve the links between practical soil use and management in farming and existing or new UK policy and research.


If there is sufficient agreement the APPG,BSSS and FEC could write to the Secretary of State setting out the concerns and the agreed policies and requesting a meeting.


As a follow up to the meeting Parliamentary Questions and an Early Day Motion could be tabled and letters sent to the Select Committees.  In the medium term an adjournment debate could be attempted.



Nic Lampkin, Reading and Organic Research Centre


Nic Lampkin is Director of the Organic Research Centre. He was previously Director and founder of Organic Centre Wales and Senior Lecturer at Aberystwyth University. He has been involved in organic farming research since the 1980s, with research covering issues ranging from soil fertility to livestock health, and more recently a particular focus on economic and policy issues, including the development of a tool box for the evaluation of organic farming action plans. He is a member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Technical Advice on Organic Production.


Prof. Mark Kibblewhite, Cranfield University


Mark Kibblewhite CSci CChem FRSC CEnv FIAgrE is an environmentalist focused on the management of soil resources and their role in building resilience to climate change, securing food security and supporting peace. He does research and consulting in support of soil policy and its implementation. He is Professor of Applied Soil Science at the National Soil Resources Institute, Cranfield University, and graduated in chemistry at the University of York, gained a PhD in soil science from Aberdeen University and has a MBA from Cranfield University.


He is President-Elect of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers and a Director of the Society for the Environment and a member of the Strategic Science Advisory Panel of Landcare Research New Zealand. Previous roles have included being Head of Land Quality at the Environment Agency, a Divisional Director at Hyder Consulting and Chair of the European Commission’s Soil Bureau Network.


Mark Hodkinson, Independent Agronomist


Mark Hodkinson is a self-employed agronomist based near Nottingham advising farmers and growers on a wide range of crop and management subjects. He has a particular interests in water resources, soils and novel crops.

Current projects include the development of alternative protein crops for animal feeds,  soilless on farm  systems for quality forage production and the breeding and selection of novel cut flower crops.

Mark is a member of the British Society of Soil Scientists and is a member of the BASIS examination panel for the BASIS and FACTS registration scheme for agricultural industry professional development.


Prof. Louise Heathwaite, Lancaster University

Louise Heathwaite is Professor of Land and Water Science and Co-Director of the Centre for Sustainable Water Management in the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University. She also works part-time for the Scottish Government as Chief Scientific Adviser for Rural and Environment. Previously, Louise worked as science champion for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) as Theme Leader for the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources theme. Louise’s research expertise is in land and water systems science.

Louise has over 25 years research experience in diffuse nutrient pollution, wetland hydrochemistry, and water quality, and has published over 150 papers in international journals.  Her applied research interests cut across the environmental sciences to interface with social science and economics. Louise is a member of Defra’s Science Advisory Council; on the Steering Board of the UK Collaborative on Development Science; a member of the NERC Science and Innovation Strategy Board; a member of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Advisory Committee; and an expert panel member for the UK National Ecosystem Assessment.

Louise has a First Class Hons BSc in Environmental Science from the University of East Anglia and a PhD from the University of Bristol where she examined the impacts of drainage on wetland hydrochemistry in the Somerset Levels. She undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford on a NERC project examining land use and land management controls on water quality before moving to what was then The Nature Conservancy Council in Peterborough as their Environmental Hydrologist. In 1990, Louise joined the Department of Geography at Sheffield University as a Lecturer and was awarded a personal chair in 1998. She moved to Lancaster University in 2004.


Prof. Phil Haygarth, Lancaster University


Prof Phil Haygarth has a Chair in Soil and Water Science at Lancaster University where he is Co-Director of the Centre for Sustainable Water Management, in Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC).  He is President Elect of the British Society of Soil Science (due to take position as President in January 2013) and was formerly Deputy Manager of the Cross Institute Programme for Sustainable Soil Function (Rothamsted Research).  Recently he was a contributing author to the UK Land Use Foresight Initiative on “The future of soils and land use in the UK: Soil systems for the provision of land-based ecosystem services” and has contributed to understanding biogeochemical processes in soil-water systems that have in turn helped inform model developments and new approaches to soil and water biogeochemistry.   Phil is leader of the Defra Demonstration Test Catchment team in the River Eden.


Dr Bob Rees, Scottish Agricultural College


Dr. Bob Rees is a senior research scientist and head of the Carbon Management Centre at the SRUC (formally SAC) in Edinburgh.  His work focusses on the measurement and mitigation of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions with a specific interest in nitrous oxide.   He is involved in the UK Greenhouse Gas Platform research programme and participates in a number of other UK and international research programmes in the field of greenhouse mitigation and climate change. Bob has served on the council of the British Society of Soil Science for 10 years, and is currently an Assistant Editor of the journal “Soil Use and Management”.  The carbon management centre is actively involved in the sustainable intensification debate, and will be hosting an international conference on the topic later next year

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