Consultation on British Standard for Sub-Soils
BSI has recently announced a public/industry consultation on its draft British Standard for sub-soils (BS 8601).
Title: 'Draft BS 8601 ~ Specification for subsoil and requirements for use'
Scope of the standard

'This British Standard specifies requirements for the classification, composition and use of subsoils that are moved or traded for creating soil profiles intended to support plant growth. The standard is not applicable to topsoil, or to subsoil that is to remain in situ. It is not intended to preclude the use of subsoil that is already on site and suitable for its intended purpose. This standard specifies requirements for multipurpose subsoil, which is fit for the majority of needs, and also specific purpose subsoils that are acidic or calcareous, for specialist use where acidic or calcareous soil profiles are required. It also specifies requirements for sampling and analysis of subsoil.'
Please click HERE to download BSI's draft standard.
Relevance to ORG members
A low proportion of compost and or digested separated fibre could be used in the manufacture of some sub-soils, depending on the quantity and quality of other available ingredients intended to be used in the blend and commercial considerations. 
The draft British Standard's table 1 (page 8) specifies quality criteria for 'multipurpose' and 'specific purpose' sub-soils.  These criteria include: maximum organic matter content (loss on ignition), maximum coarse fragment content, acceptable pH range, maximum exchangeable sodium percentage, and upper limits for potentially phytotoxic elements and physical contaminants > 2 mm.
Any use of compost or digested separated fibre in the manufactured sub-soil blend would need to be of suitable quality, such that the manufactured sub-soil blend conforms with the 'multipurpose' or 'specific purpose' quality criteria set in this British Standard. 
A supplier of the 'waste' or 'product' status of the compost / digested separated fibre would need to check with the sub-soil manufacturer whether the other material in the sub-soil blend is 'waste' or 'product' and whether the manufacturing company has an environmental permit to manufacture the sub-soil (necessary if any of the ingredients are 'waste' when supplied to the manufacturer).    
Responding to the consultation
BSI's deadline for receipt of comments:30th September 2013.
Comments can be submitted either using the BSI draft review system (details of which are given in the DPC) or by filling in the comments template and returning it to (download the template by clicking HERE).
If you would like to discuss aspects of BSI's draft standard for sub-soils with one of the team at ORG, please contact Kiara Zennaro (, 07717 294793).
Webpage published: 8th August 2013.
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