Soil Environment Services

Soil Surveys, Soil Investigations, Site Investigations and Environmental Land Surveys


Current or recent research


 WRAP  2015 How manufacturing topsoil using PAS100 compost can reduce costs for the construction industry 

Soil Environment Services recently completed this project for WRAP. Please follow WRAP PAS100 for more information.


WRAP – Slope stability

This project examines the use for compost for geotechnical stability of engineered slopes, erosion control and restoration of riparian habitats. Download report.


WRAP – Willow Trials

The use of quality food derived composts for establishment of biofuel crops on brownfield land. Download report.


WRAP – Lambton monitoring: A Sustainable Solution for Soil Manufacturing

Soil Manufacture at Lambton Coke Workpodcast
Download Podcast by Katherine Church of WRAP and Robin Davies of SES Ltd

Transforming a former coke works site to a residential housing development with grass and woodland is a considerable task and getting the right soil to support habitat development brings demanding technical, economic and environmental challenges. Soil Environment Services (SES) developed a soil manufacturing solution that met these demands.The site at Lambton, in County Durham, had been left with some significant contamination issues due to its historical industrial use which  had left it with insufficient soil to support an ambitious landscaping plan.Bringing soil onto the site was costly and increased the detrimental environmental impact of the project. The local authority and residential community would also have objected to the increase in site traffic that soil importing would have created.

Soil Environment Services was commissioned by Glen Kemp Ltd, the landscape architect for the site to advise on soil design and manufacturing whilst accommodating the economic, environmental and social demands on the development.

A soil resources survey of the existing material on site was undertaken to determine the suitability for soil production. There was also a review of other material that could be efficiently brought onto the site.

Download reports: Lambton Monitoring Report | Lambton Soil Manufacture


Three horizons in the manufactured soil profile


On-site pot trials of different soil blends

There were a number of materials identified that had potential mineral and organic qualities, which could help in the manufacture of soil.  This included colliery shale, crushed bricks, site clay, green waste compost and paper crumb (waste material from paper manufacturing).Through a series of field experimental trials, a number of soil designs were found to support habitat development. Further larger scale trials refined the soil design and manufacturing process and soil production began on-site.Soil design and manufacture at Lambton  has not only provided good quality soils for an impressive landscaping project, it has been achieved in a sustainable manner – reducing site waste, diverting other waste from landfill, being cost-efficient and meeting community needs to minimise site traffic.

Selected Publications


Davies R. 2004 Soil Handling. In: Environmental Management Guidance Manual for SME Aggregate Companies. Produced for the Minerals Industry Research Organisation by NECESI and The Environment Practice. Read Report


Gilliou G and Davies R. 2004 Combination of Basaltic Quarry Fines with Organic Process Residues for the Development of Novel Growing Media. Report No. 086/MIST1/GG/01 MIST project reference: MA/1/3/003. Read Report


DAVIES R., YOUNGER A., HODGKINSON R. & CHAPMAN R. 1998. Nitrogen loss from a soil restored after surface-mining. Land Reclamation, Proceedings of the 4th International Conference of the International Affiliation of Land Reclamationists, Nottingham. Ed.Fox, H.R. etal., Balkema, Rotterdam. Read Report


R DAVIES, A YOUNGER & R HODGKINSON. 1997. Soil nitrogen depletion: the threat from soil stockpiling. Journal of the Institute of Environmental Sciences 6, 7-10.


DAVIES R., HODGKINSON R., YOUNGER A. & CHAPMAN R. 1995. Nitrogen loss from a soil restored after surface-mining. Journal of Environmental Quality 24, 1215-1222. Read Report


CHAPMAN R., YOUNGER A. & DAVIES R. 1994. The influence of soil factors on the growth of a grass/clover sward on a restored site in Northumberland. Grass and Forage Science 49, 447-457.


DAVIES R. & YOUNGER A. 1994. The effect of post-restoration cropping regime on some physical properties of a restored soil. Soil Use and Management 10, 55-60. Read Report


R. DAVIES & A. YOUNGER. 1994. The structural resilience of a restored soil. In Proceedings of the 15th International Congress on Soil Science, Acapulco, Mexico.


DAVIES R., YOUNGER A. & CHAPMAN R. 1992. Water availability in a restored soil. Soil Use and Management 8, 67-73.Read Report


DAVIES R.S. & ADEY M.A. 1991. A laboratory method for investigating the stabilisation of mole channels. Journal of Agricultural Engineering Research 48, 303-314.



Recent reports:
Lambton Soil Manufacture
Lambton Monitoring Report
MIRO Soil Handling
Willow Report
Slope Trial