As part of the Commissions mandate, it was due to provide a directive on controlling soil contamination and improve the use of compost by the end of the year.
This deadline will be missed, and the possibility remains that the directive may never appear at all. Instead, it could be incorporated in a smaller form into a wider soil strategy. But the EU is not ruling out having a directive as part of the strategy.
An EU environment spokesman said: No decision has been made on what instrument will be used whether it will be a directive or something else. But it is part of a strategy for soil that will be published in mid- to late-2005.