The ReCon Soil (Interreg FCE project) brings together the expertise of scientists, educators and industry to revolutionise how waste material from construction projects is managed.

The €2.5 million project aims to develop sustainable soils from construction waste and agricultural by-products.

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Healthy soil is at the heart of agriculture and is essential for 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 £3billion 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 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 also 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 commercialisation.

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. 

Soil Research at UEA

UEA is a partner organisation in this cross-Channel research project, bringing expertise in soil science, spatial analysis and environmental economics.

The Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014) showed that over 82% of UEA's research activity was "world-leading" or "internationally excellent”. The School of Environmental Sciences is one of the longest established, largest and most fully developed interdisciplinary institutions of its kind in Europe. In 2017, The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, was awarded to the School, marking 50 years of ground-breaking environmental science research and teaching.

Our research team

Research partners 

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