Polluted soil

Reports and studies from our work on polluted soils, nature protection and biodiversity.


The aims of this questionnaire are to update the UIC-Leaflet 723 “Vegetation Control – technical and management aspects” (January 2004) and to gather information on the increasingly important topic of biodiversity.

The questionnaire is divided into four sections concerning the following issues, the definitions are given here after:

I. General Questions - Essential information on your company’s track length and area controlled for vegetation and weeds.

II. Weed / vegetation control within the track – The track area includes the gravel/ concrete bed with rails, sleepers and the bordering side/ working paths.

III. Weed / vegetation control outside the track – These areas include all other areas belonging to railway facilities like dams, incisions and other vegetated area beside platforms, e.g. embankments.

IV. Biodiversity – This topic includes activities of the railway sector that impact upon the diversity of species and habitats.

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State of the art on railways polluted soils

The polluted soils and remediation network has been created in 2007, as the thematics has been highlighted with the proposal for a Directive establishing a framework for the protection of soil and amending Directive 2004/35/EC.

The work of the network is dedicated to questions regarding polluted soils from the past. The goal is to create awareness at top management level for sustainable land use, that means using land (soil) as a natural resource, without limiting its value for future generations.

A first project has been conducted in 2008 to establish a report based on a survey amongst EU railway members of UIC on the pollution and remediation of soils. Some information and the final report are available below.

The UIC Soil Network proposed to describe the state of the art concerning the soil pollution on railway properties and its remediation in Europe. The main objective of the research is to contribute to the
harmonization of the approach towards polluted railway properties within the European Union.

UIC commissioned the Dutch foundation SBNS to investigate and to describe the status quo of railway related soil pollution in the Member States of the European Union. This study was based on a questionnaire sent to European UIC members.

The main conclusions were the following:

  • Soil pollution on railroad land in European countries is a significant topic.
  • European legislation will certainly lead to the introduction or the adjustment of national laws in the field of soil management.
  • Within the Member States of the European Union big differences occur:
    • in status quo of the legislation in the field of soil pollution,
    • in the progress of soil remediation,
    • in working methods.
  • The support for a common knowledge base is high.

Contaminated soil assessment scheme

The last three years of the polluted soil remediation´s work program has been to focus on exchange of technical issues, to follow the development of the amendments of Directive 2004/35/EC, and to finalize a project on the establishment of a contaminated soils assessment scheme, which objectives were to give:

  • some recommendations for improvement of environmental data handling,
  • some recommendations for implementation of a data system,
  • recommendation for risk management due to polluted soil and
  • properties use for the benefit of railway companies.

In June 2010 a summary of the contaminated soils assessment scheme was finalized and the technical report has been available since October 2010. The summary and the report are available below.