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They complain that the government relies on soil protection rules linked to farm subsidies. These rules, they warn, are weak, loosely enforced, and focus on preventing further soil damage rather than encouraging restoration of damaged fields. Labour's Mary Creagh, the committee chair, said: "Soil degradation could mean that some of our most productive agricultural land becomes unprofitable within a generation. "Every tonne of carbon we can retain in soil will help us meet our carbon budgets and slow climate change." A government spokesman replied: "The health of our soils and our 25-year plan for action on the environment will set out a comprehensive, long-term vision to protect and enhance our natural environment for generations to come." Image copyright John Boardman Image caption Maintaining soils properly retains their carbon, mitigating climate change But other experts reinforced the committee's concerns. Prof Phil Haygarth, from Lancaster University, said: "Soils are arguably the most complex systems on Earth but are intimately linked to human security and the integrity of the wider environment. "Any lack of recognition of this is just short-sighted and will inevitably lead to environmental and societal problems in the future." The report says the UK's arable soils have seen a worrying decline in carbon levels since 1978. The other focus of the report is on contaminated land. There was previously a limited national pot of cash to help local councils clean up polluted land, but this has now been closed completely. The government says planning policy sets a clear framework for the clean-up of land to be developed.