Theoretical effects of soil handling equipment and practices are well documented; however, this theory has not been integrated with what is considered as best practice for soil handling. The study will aim to bring together both theory and practice in order to detail the best technical practices for handling soils with earthmoving machinery and to set standards enabling objective and consistent monitoring to be undertaken. The study will be composed of 4 specific objectives outlined as follows, together with ways in which they might be achieved: 1. Preparation of guidance notes for soil stripping, storage and replacement for 3 principal combinations of earthmoving equipment (scrapers, truck and shovel, bulldozer and truck) for 3 generic categories of soil (sandy, loamy, clay) for a range of climatic (rainfall) conditions. A variety of published and unpublished material will be consulted and discussions will be conducted with FRCA, operators and other people involved with soil handling operations; 2. Development of standards for monitoring and assessing the performance of equipment and practices. This will be developed in parallel with the first objective and will be based on criteria currently used by MAFF to assess land quality; 3. Identification of further research needs. These will be proposed in a brief stand-alone report drawing on the findings of the first 2 objectives; and 4. Assessment of the potential of a soil moisture sensor as a convenient alternative method for routine, consistent determination of soil moisture status. A dielectric sensor currently used in the horticultural industry will be trialled and compared with conventional methods using 3 soil types. The study is relevant to planning policy regarding the protection of best and most versatile agricultural land. Findings of the study will be used by FRCA, planning authorities, DETR and mineral operators.