Soil sealing can be defined as the destruction or covering of the ground by an impermeable material.

It is one of the main causes of soil degradation in the EU. Soil sealing often affects fertile agricultural land, puts biodiversity at risk, increases the risk of flooding and water scarcity and contributes to global warming. Since the mid 1950s, the total surface area of cities in the EU has increased by 78%, thus contributing greatly to soil sealing and its negative impacts.

The EEA has developed an interactive data viewer that shows the status of and change in land surface sealing (measured as imperviousness) in Europe for every three years between 2006 and 2015. The viewer facilitates the assessment of soil sealing over a specific period, which can be analysed within user defined spatial units such as administrative regions, biogeographical regions or land cover classes.

Our latest publication on Soil monitoring in Europe contains a specific chapter on soil sealing as well as other key indicators and thresholds for soil health assessments.