It is important to have a detailed knowledge of soil characteristics and their distribution within a site so that informed decisions can be made about land use to ensure their protection from damage.
A soil survey identifies soil resources within a site and groups them into soil types. Soil types share common properties such as texture, drainage and stoniness.
There are various applications of soil resource surveys:
Agricultural Land Classification is required as part of the planning application for greenfield land that may involve the loss of Best and Most Versatile (BMV) agricultural land. Soil Management Plans (SMP) and Soil Resource Surveys (SRS) are also becoming an increasingly common condition of planning permissions in the development sites. They show the areas, types and characteristics of topsoil and subsoil available on site and advise on best practice for resource protection and suitability for reuse in cases where land is being disturbed. A soil survey is best conducted at the early stages of a development project to make the most out of the detailed information.
A soil survey should be undertaken by a suitably qualified and experienced soil scientist. The Land Research Associates have been carrying out soil surveys for over 29 years with unrivalled skills and experience as a specialist soil science consultancy.
Soil surveys are typically carried out using hand-held equipment (Dutch auger and shovel) with observations carried out at a density of at least one per hectare, with increased density for smaller sites. The survey will identify topsoil and subsoil resources noting their physical properties (e.g. texture, stoniness), chemical properties (e.g. nutrients where applicable), and depths.
A good soil survey will:
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