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BGS publishes City soil survey

BGS publishes City soil survey

The British Geological Survey (BGS) has completed the largest ever environmental survey of London’s soils. The research was carried out to provide baseline information for more than 50 chemical elements.

London’s underlying rocks can be detected as a ‘geochemical footprint’ in the soil.

As part of the London Earth project, more than 6,200 individual locations were sampled across the city, including industrial areas, domestic gardens and allotments. These were then tested for elements such as calcium, lead, iron, copper and nickel, which are typical indicators of urban activity.

Few parts of London remain untouched by human impact through urban development and industrialisation, with the exception of London’s parks.

This is the first time that the chemical composition of the soils in the whole of London has been measured. Maps of the results can be viewed online.

The study will enable local authorities and others with an interest in the urban environment to assess the health of the city’s soil, in addition to supporting environmental research.

At Canary Wharf, the London Earth results have been used to aid a clean-up operation prior to a redevelopment project. The survey shows that the soil there has been reinstated to its pre-industrial condition.


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