Navigation path

High level navigation

Page navigation

Additional tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Print version
  • Decrease text
  • Increase text


Conference 'Remediation of contaminated sites – key for an efficient land management in the EU'

On 10th November 2011, the Liaison Office of Saxony in Brussels, in cooperation with the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission, hosted a conference to address the remediation of contaminated sites and its links to a more efficient land use in the EU. The conference was opened by Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Environment, and Frank Kupfer, Minister of Environment and Agriculture of Saxony.

Minister Kupfer noted that soil is the universal resource of our planet. It is also a finite natural resource that is affected by various human activities. Many industrial sites are polluted as a result of decades of production activities. Uncertainties about the extent and type of contamination can complicate follow up uses.

Sometimes developments on greenfields often appear to be a cheaper and easier alternative. In Europe, some 1,000 km² of soils - an area larger than the city of Berlin - are lost to land take annually. In 2006 the European Commission proposed a better management of soil in the context of the Soil Thematic Strategy, underlining the need to implement appropriate remedial actions.The Resource Efficiency Roadmap, adopted in September 2011, noted that current land take trends are unsustainable and threaten the availability of soil and water resources for future generations. It thus suggested that, by 2020, EU policies should take into account their direct and indirect impact on land use in the EU and globally, and that the rate of land take should be on track with an aim to achieve no net land take by 2050.

Tackling land take and its side effects by addressing the existing brownfield problem in polluted areas is a major challenge but also an opportunity. Saxony has taken on this task. Remediation and revitalisation of brownfields, including mitigating and compensating measures like de-sealing of land, have been successfully completed at many sites. Additional examples from Denmark and France presented different facets of how other European regions are tackling brownfield regeneration and sustainable soil use.

The conference provided a much needed insight on soil remediation activities across some of the most active regions of Europe. It become clear that remediation is a way of limiting land take and soil sealing, hence the encroachment on agricultural land or green areas. This offers a win-win opportunity which is going to become more and more important in the future.

The conference highlighted not only the close connection between a proactive soil protection policy and the existence of a thriving soil remediation industry, but also set the foundations for some of the work Europe will need to do to manage its land better. The competition and pressures on land and soil are difficult and costly to reverse. For all these reasons, Commissioner Potočnik noted that a comprehensive approach to soil proves to be even more necessary, and that strategies only will not be enough to reach our objectives.

The programme of the conference is available here.


(PDF format)

Janez Potočnik
European Commissioner for the Environment

Soil protection in the context of resource efficiency

Frank Kupfer
Saxon State Minister of the Environment and Agriculture

Remediation of contaminated sites – a Saxon success story

Summary presentation

Prof. Harald Burmeier
First Chairman of ITVA (Germany)

Soil remediation and land management – a win-win situation!

Ulrich Kraus
Head of Division, Saxon State Ministry of the Environment and Agriculture

Reducing land-take through brownfield rehabilitation - best practise in Saxony

Michael Illing
Executive Director LMBV International (Germany)

Innovative solutions for the rehabilitation of contaminated sites in the mining industry

Merja Haapakka
DG Regional Policy, European Commission

Re-using brownfield sites and buildings for integrated and sustainable urban development

Tom Heron
Executive Director NIRAS consultancy

Tackling the problem of soil contamination in Denmark

Christine Lafeuille & Ludovic Demeyer
Project Engineers Development and housing department of Lille Metropolitan area (France)

Brownfields and soil remediation strategy in Lille

Angela Zábojnik
Head of Division - City of Leipzig
Wolfgang Socher
Head of Division - City of Dresden

Compensatory measures for soil protection at community level in the cities of Dresden and Leipzig