OPAL Soil Centre research

Soil is one of the world’s most precious natural resources

It is vital for plants and for food production. It also provides a home for a vast array of life. Soil stores and filters water, and provides the important foundation for buildings. The world would be a very different place without it.

Despite all these vital functions, much less is known about soil than air or water. We need to build a greater understanding of soil so we can sustain its functions and tackle local and global environmental challenges.


OPAL Soil Centre research

The OPAL Soil Centre is coordinating the Soil and Earthworm Survey and a series of research projects. We hope to fill the gaps in our scientific knowledge and encourage more people to get their hands dirty making their own soil discoveries.

Learn more about our soil research projects

Take part in the Soil and Earthworm Survey

Read an analysis of the early results by earthworm expert David Jones (PDF, 143KB)


Inner-city pollution
We want to learn more about soil pollution – its sources, how it moves through the soil and how it affects soil quality.

We have worked closely with the Environment Agency and the Natural History Museum and have focused particularly on inner-city areas, where pollution has greatest impact. This research will help with the future management of biosolids recycling – returning nutrients and organic matter reclaimed from wastewater to the land as fertiliser.


Policy and regulation
If you are interested in learning more about government and EU policy on soil and soil biodiversity then please visit:


OPAL Soil Centre was led by Imperial College, London