Soil is the Cinderella of environmental media. The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution has suggested that soil protection has been taken for granted by policy and law makers and that soil quality has not been given the same priority as air or water quality. After many years of neglect, we have arrived at something of a crossroads in terms of soil protection policy. Various policy documents have emerged which seek to place soil protection on a higher level of importance. The simple aim of this article is to locate the UK's position on soil protection in the context of the wider framework which is emerging at a European level. The article concludes that whilst there has been a recognition for some years that an integrated soil protection policy is needed in the UK, the progress towards producing such a policy has been painfully slow, fragmented and unproductive partly as a result of a lack of basic information on soil and the incoherent nature of the administration of soil protection.