Technically, most people agree that conserving soil organic matter and completing nutrient cycles by applying animal manures, treated organic wastes and biosolids to land is the most sustainable option in the majority of situations. It is also generally the least expensive. There has been a huge amount of research into the hazards, and this has concluded that the risks can be managed to acceptable levels. But there has been insufficient attention to communicating this knowledge, as so often in the scientific and technological arena. Perception is reality. Nowadays compliance with regulations (whilst essential) is not enough; public and stakeholder attitudes can be of decisive importance. Sometimes policy-makers speculate what public attitudes might be without really asking them. This paper will describe an initiative to create a partnership open to anybody with an interest in the use of organic materials on land to develop consensus on good practice and to share knowledge. It summarises an attitude survey of more than 140 organisations, which was then debated at a workshop in July 2002. The conclusion from this study was that all parties considered a partnership is essential to share knowledge, build mutual trust and agree practices that are welcomed by all in the food chain. The paper will describe the steps to establishing a partnership organisation, its aims and objectives, the work to date and the plans for the future. The Environment Agency considers this very important and has largely funded the work to date. The consequences of failing to establish welcomed practices would be loss of the facility to use organic resources on land.

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