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British Sugar TOPSOIL adds soil carbon data to product information

We speak to Andy Spetch, National TOPSOIL Manager, to find out about why the company have decided to conduct soil carbon research, the benefits the addition of this information can provide, and the importance this step can have in mitigating climate change.

In its drive to provide extensive product information for its customers, British Sugar TOPSOIL is measuring its BS3882:2015-compliant general-purpose topsoil, Landscape20, for total soil carbon.

Soil scientists Tim O’Hare Associates has carried out a comprehensive audit of the carbon contained in a typical sample of Landscape20, and will continue to sample the soil every six months, meaning British Sugar TOPSOIL can build a bank of useful data for their customers.

National TOPSOIL Manager, Andy Spetch, explained that his background in agriculture and research and development had been a heavy influence in the start of this data collection. He added: “It’s important I know the information we provide is scientifically correct and that the research is conducted professionally.”

The focus on soil health and its role in mitigating climate change has drawn attention to the levels of carbon that can be stored in soil. Andy said: “There’s a lot out in nature that can impact on soil carbon like soil temperature and husbandry, but the more data we build, the more conclusions and advice we will be able to provide.”

The addition of soil carbon data in the product information will be of great use to housebuilders, developers, construction and landscaping professionals who need to provide evidence of their approach to delivering environmentally sustainable homes to regulatory and other bodies.

“It’s beneficial to our customers as we can give them a number. Say, for example, if topsoil is laid at depth of 300mm, then in a hectare we can conclude the amount of carbon sequestered in the Landscape20. It’s a small but important step towards tackling climate change.”

To understand Landscape20’s carbon sequestration potential, Tim O’Hare Associates will be monitoring:

  • Organic Carbon Stock (tonnes/Ha)
  • Total Carbon
  • Soil Organic Carbon
  • Soil Inorganic Carbon
  • Soil Organic Matter
  • Total Nitrogen
  • Organic Carbon: Nitrogen ratio

As the company strengthens the concrete evidence, they offer their customers, Andy explained an additional benefit could be that buyers can save money on inputs, such as artificial fertilisers, when there is sufficient available in the topsoil.

This is certainly an exciting step for British Sugar TOPSOIL’s future, and Andy explained being a responsible supplier is at the heart of the business. “We’re really looking forward to being able understanding the product further.”

All the information is freely accessible and downloadable from the British Sugar TOPSOIL website here.

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