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ReCon Soil Project

Bringing together the expertise of scientists, educators and industry to revolutionise how waste material from construction projects is managed

Healthy soil is at the heart of agriculture and in maintaining quality food production. Soil is also the largest carbon store on earth, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change and preserve biodiversity.

Yet, while food security and agricultural sustainability remain two of the great global challenges of the 21st century, the construction industry in the UK and France is paying over to £3 billion per annum to dispose of waste soil from building sites. ReCon Soil seeks to support the construction industry to find new ways to reuse waste soils safely, especially where it contributes to reduced carbon emissions and acts as a low carbon technology.

Aims and output

The ReCon Soil project has a total budget of €2.5m, of which €1.8m is funded by the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg France (Channel) England (FCE) Programme. 

The ReCon Soil project will:

  • Develop and roll out at least three recipes of reconstructed soils made from locally sourced construction waste and dredged sediments and supplemented with agricultural by-products.
  • These recipes will be characterised in laboratories, and then trailed at sites in the UK and France, to establish their effectiveness as growing media and their potential environmental impact.
  • Data from these studies will be incorporated into a blueprint, detailing ingredients and methodology for those wanting to reproduce or use reconstructed soils.
  • The project will establish five new low-carbon technology networks (with members from the construction, agricultural, conservation, and public sectors); and will train 200 workers.
  • The project will also explore the policy barriers and regulatory impediments that would need to be addressed for soil reuse and reconstruction to be rolled out right across the construction sector.

Through these activities ReCon Soil will translate its research outputs to industry.

Contact

For enquiries related to ReCon Soil contact project officers Emma Duley and Katy Jo Stanton

Research at Eden Project Learning

Eden Project Learning (EPL) is an educational partnership between the Eden Project and The Cornwall College Group and offers undergraduates and postgraduates the opportunity to gain recognised qualifications from HNC to MSc, while gaining practical hands-on experience in an extraordinary learning environment at Eden Project, UK.

EPL is one of the largest degree level plant science groups in the UK, with soil science as a core component of all education programmes. Based at the Eden Project, EPL has unique access to the Eden Project biomes, labs, and 20-year-old soils constructed from waste materials and alongside the ReCon Soil project partners, EPL shares decades of expertise in the design and manufacture of reconstructed soils.

EPL soils and plant science physiological expertise will have substantial input in ReCon Soil project work packages, developing soil recipes and investigating through plant growth experiments and plant/soils analysis. Through its public engagement at Eden Project and Citizen Science, as well as through training a range of beneficiary/stakeholder groups, EPL will be a key partner on the ReCon Soil project as a prominent outreach platform via Eden Project, communicating scientific plant and soils knowledge to the public (approx. 7000 visitors per day). 

Eden Project learning research team

Dr Mark Nason
Head of Eden Project Learning at The Cornwall College Group
Soil scientist
ReCon Soil project lead at Eden Project Learning

Dr Tim Pettitt
Senior lecturer at Eden Project Learning
Plant pathologist
Mycologist
Soil and waterborne disease specialist

Dr Alexandra Wagstaffe
Senior lecturer at Eden Project Learning
Plant scientist
Crop physiologist

Emma Duley MSc
ReCon Soil project officer
EPL Research associate
Land and ecological restoration practitioner

Katy Jo Stanton MSc
ReCon Soil project officer
EPL Research associate
Land and ecological restoration practitioner

Research Partners