Our response to the peat consultation

The UK government has a public consultation on ending the retail sale of peat.

Please respond by the 18th March 2022, the online survey link is at the bottom of the page.

Peat Free April’s response

These answers are for reference, please use your own words for the greatest effect.

About You

1. Which of the following do you identify yourself as?

  • Amateur Gardener
  • NGO Environmental Body
  • Growing Media Manufacturer
  • Retailer selling bagged growing media
  • Professional grower of horticulture
  • Peat extractor
  • Other

2. Which territory/territories do you live in or, if applicable, does your business operate in?

  • England
  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Wales

Measure: Business as usual/voluntary approach

3. Our current approach consists of voluntary targets in England to end the use of peat in horticulture by 2020 for the amateur sector. Should we continue with the voluntary approach?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

4. If we were to revise the date for ending the use of peat in horticulture for the amateur sector, when should that date be?

  • 2024
  • 2025
  • 2026

Please give your reasons and upload any supporting evidence (optional). Max 150 words.

The voluntary ban has been an abject failure [1]. We require an enforced ban that ends peat use by 2023 to follow advice from the Climate Change Committee [2]. Our peatlands’ condition worsens daily; the seeds of rare plant species held within peatlands continue to be lost during excavation. Despite having over 20 years notice of the upcoming peat ban, the horticultural industry has procrastinated for decades and has failed to take this issue seriously. We need an outright ban on the use of peat in all aspects of horticulture, for both amateur and professionals. We need to protect biodiversity and protect ourselves by safeguarding our peatlands. Almost all plants grow better without peat. For over 25 years, I’ve grown a wide range of plants successfully in peat-free growing media; there is no need to use peat [3]. Continued use of peat is harming us and our planet.

Mandatory Reporting of the Volume of Peat Sold

13. Do you agree that this measure would encourage the horticulture industry to reduce their use of peat and peat containing products?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

The more work that companies are required to do to fulfil their legal obligations around peat the more aware they will be of their peat use and the less likely they are to want to sell peat-based products. If businesses that use peat are compelled to spend additional time to fulfil their legal duties due to their use of peat (and peat-free companies are relieved of this burden) the less profitable and desirable a peat-based product becomes.
However, mandatory reporting will not be effective enough; what we urgently need now is a total ban on peat use in the horticultural industry. The sooner mandatory reporting can be brought in the better, but it’s important that mandatory reporting on peat use will hasten and not delay the implementation of a complete ban on the use of peat in horticulture and it’s vital that companies now go 100% peat-free.

14. Do you agree that this measure would help to raise awareness of issues around the use of horticultural peat?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

Mandatory reporting on peat use will raise awareness in the horticultural industry and assist in helping to identify successes in switching to peat-free growing media, which could encourage and facilitate accurate knowledge sharing. Awareness around the use of horticultural peat is important, but despite many campaigns, the genuine issues around peat have not been grasped or understood by the majority of those working in the horticultural industry or the general public. We urgently need to stop using peat; we need a robust, thorough, and effective ban on the use of peat in horticulture for both amateur and professional gardeners. Reducing the quantity of peat we use is not enough; we are in a climate and nature emergency urgent, effective action – a complete ban – is long overdue. We are relying on you to introduce an expedited ban on the use of peat in horticulture.

Ban the sale of peat
The environmental concerns around peat use in horticulture have been ongoing since the 1990s and there is widespread frustration that the issue has yet to be resolved. We have concluded that the voluntary approach has not delivered.

One of the key barriers to phasing out peat use in horticulture has been the lack of a level playing field and a perceived first mover disadvantage due to the increased price of alternatives compared to peat and increased production costs. This measure would level the playing field and ensure that further progress was made to end peat use.

A ban on the sale of peat and peat containing products would apply to domestic and imported peat, alike.

Measure: Ban the sale of peat

15. Do you think there should be a retail sales ban for peat and peat containing products in England and Wales?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

16. Will it be feasible to implement a sales ban for the retail sector by the end of this parliament (2024)?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

Please give your reasons (optional). 150 words max

The horticultural industry was told over 20 years ago that peat use would need to cease by 2020. We are now in 2022 – the industry has already enjoyed decades, plus over two years of extra time to run trials and make any adaptions to their businesses. Excellent peat-free growing mediums are available; most plants grow as well or better in peat-free growing media[1]. Over 100 Nurseries are peat-free[2]. Field-grown plants, hydroponics, and other growing methods can be used that are naturally peat-free.
Effective and sustainable propagation methods will continue to be developed after a ban on peat is implemented. Crops can be grown to produce compost and waste products and digestate can also be utilised. Home and community composting encouraged and guidance on the use of compost (not digging bags of compost into the soil) can be given.
The Climate Change Committee recommend all peat use ends by 2023.

[1] www.iucn-uk-peatlandprogramme.org/resources/restoration-practice/demonstrating-success
[2] www.dogwooddays.net/2020/04/30/updated-peat-free-nurseries-list

17. Should there be any exemptions from such a ban? (Please select all that apply.)

  • Yes, where peat is used as a growing medium for potted plants and shrubs
  • Yes, for scientific purposes
  • Yes, other reason
  • No, there should not be any exemptions

Please give your reasons and upload any supporting evidence (optional). Max 200 words.

There must be no loopholes or exceptions for amateurs/professionals who want to use peat for growing plants that were traditionally grown in peat, for example carnivorous plants or Rhododendrons. A worthy reason connected to scientific research or conservation, administered through appropriate conservation channels must be the only possible exception for using peat.
Any Exemptions must be strictly controlled and monitored. Possible exceptions include raising a limited number of peatland plants in a National Collection or for initiatives connected to scientific research and conservation; these would need to be restricted and monitored; the quantity of peat used would need to be controlled and restricted.
Almost all plants grow better without the inclusion of peat in their growing media. I achieve excellent germination using peat-free growing media. Salix nursery[1] raises peatland plants in the UK, using peat-free growing media. Carnivorous plants are also successfully grown peat-free by many UK growers.

Please upload any evidence here

18. Are there industries other than the horticultural industry that will be severely affected by a ban of the retail sale of peat and peat containing products? [If ‘yes’] which industries?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

Whisky and mushroom producers.

19. For potted plants and shrubs, what should be the maximum quantity of peat that should be exempt from a sales ban?

  • Less than 1l per product
  • Less than 5l per product
  • Less than 10l per product

Please give your reasons (optional). 150 words max

There should be no exceptions. We should not be using peat. We need robust and effective laws to protect our peatlands.
Once the legal ban is introduced, it’s important that any shrubs, trees, or other plants that were grown in peat-based growing mediums prior to 2023 will still be allowed to be retained and sold. It’s important to allow time for these plants to mature to retail or commercial sale requirements. This would need to be regulated under a licence system.

Measure: Point of sale bag charge for the purchase of any growing media bag containing peat

20. Do you think that the measure to increase the price of growing media containing peat will have an impact on consumer behaviour?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

Levies could make peat-using-companies appear more environmentally-friendly or charitable and might be negatively associated with anyone encouraging horticulture to be more sustainable.
Increasing the cost of peat will not solve the environmental problems that result from excavating peat for horticulture.
Growers are fixated on peat and would happily pay more to use peat.
A high proportion of gardeners are middle class and can afford to pay extra.
Expensive goods are often considered superior. It would be regrettable if price increases caused peat to be mistakenly perceived as more desirable.
It is the responsibility of the government, retailers, and the horticultural industry to ensure that products sold are sustainable. The consumer should not shoulder this responsibility or bear the cost.

21. Would this measure encourage the sale of more peat-free alternative growing media?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

Please give your reasons (optional). 150 words max

Special offers on peat-based composts should be banned. Two for one deals, three for £X, or offers that encourage customers to purchase larger quantities or extra bags of peat for a discounted price must be strictly forbidden.

Peat containing products should be allocated a designated area with signage clearly explaining (wording written by conservation specialists not retailers or compost manufacturers) that peat use is harmful to the environment and steals a rare habitat away from rare plants and wildlife and contributes to climate change.

If the premium for peat-based composts was significantly higher than the current price points for premium brands of peat-free compost this could have a reduction in the amount of peat sold and used. However, this is not guaranteed. A legal and robust ban that is speedily implemented is what is what is urgently required to make a difference and protect our peatlands.

22. What would be an appropriate amount for the point of sale charge for a 50L bag of growing media containing peat?
Please select from the following options. (This charge would be in addition to the original price of the product.)

  • £1 – 0.92 per litre
  • £2.50 – 0.05 per litre
  • £3.50 – 0.07 per litre
  • Other

Please give your reasons (optional). 150 words max

Levy monies could ‘green-wash’ peat products, making them appear desirable, saleable, or as if they help peatlands or conservation, which could not be further from the truth! To be effective, the point-of-sale charge would need to increase the cost of peat-based-products by 100%/£10 per bag or more. Peat-free must be available at a significant cost reduction to affect purchasing decisions. Gardeners are often home-owners with disposable income; a higher charge may not be a deterrent. Extra charges that gardeners begrudgingly pay to continue using peat is not a solution; we need a complete ban on peat in horticulture. No amount of money is adequate recompense for the priceless value that our peatlands offer us (carbon storage and capture, filtering high quality drinking water, protecting us from flooding and climate change, safeguarding biodiversity, habitat for rare plants and wildlife, areas for relaxation and exercise).

23. Do you have a view on what retailers should do with the levy money raised through the point-of-sale bag charge? (Please select all that apply.)

  • Donate funding to peatland restoration projects
  • Donate funding to research & development projects around the horticulture industry
  • Other

Please give your reasons (optional). 150 words max

We are anxious to ensure that any levy money raised will not be used to benefit any person or company who is using peat in horticulture.

We also fear that a levy could be misleadingly marketed as a charitable initiative and a positive contribution to society from companies that use peat.

The only acceptable course of action would be to have all monies raised sent to an independent body (outside of the horticultural industry) and to use all of the funds to repair and restore peatlands to benefit nature and wildlife. However, although this is the best option, We feel compelled to highlight how crazy this situation is, damaging a peatland and then collecting funds for repairs! A faster, stricter, and thorough ban on the use of peat in all aspects of horticulture would be a preferable outcome for our peatlands, for biodiversity, and for ourselves.

24. Do you believe there should be any exemptions to the point of sale charge? [If yes] How should we decide who should be exempt from measure?
Please select from the following options

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

No exemptions.  If adopted, this measure should apply to any amount of peat in any peat containing product, including all growing media bags and any size or number of containers for container-grown plants.   

25. In addition to the point of sale charge, do you think having mandatory labelling of growing media bags containing peat would have an impact on consumer behaviour?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

Compost bags must be clearly labelled using clear, concise language with all the information in large sized lettering on the front of the bag. This should be mandatory. The current Responsible Sourcing Scheme for growing media requires urgent improvement.
The complex issues related to peatlands are not understood by the vast majority of the public and large swathes of the horticultural industry.
Following generations of damage by excavating peat for horticulture, over 80% of our peatlands are now in a seriously damaged state and require urgent restoration.
We need a fast and effective ban and investment into the restoration of our peatlands. Peatland restoration, improving woodland and local parks could create 16,050 jobs across the UK.

Call for evidence questions

26. Should we change the current voluntary target for ending the use of peat and peat containing products to 2028 for the professional sector in England?
This would include all sales of peat, including whether they are made to businesses or directly to consumers. Please select from the following options

If yes, what year should we change the voluntary target to and why? Please give your reasons and upload any supporting evidence (optional). Max 150 words

Yes, a legal, mandatory ban should be implemented as a matter urgency, in line with the CCC’s recommendation to end horticultural peat use in 2023.  The IUCN’s Demonstrating Success report shows clearly, through case studies of successful growers with thriving businesses without using peat, that peat is not needed in the professional sector.  

A ban on peat use would encourage innovation and create a robust, sustainable and lasting horticultural industry.

27. When would be feasible to ban the sale of peat and peat containing products for the professional sector?
This would include all sales of peat, including whether they are made to businesses or directly to consumers. Please select from the following options

  • 2028
  • 2029
  • 2030
  • Other

We support Climate Change Committee’s recommendation to end the use of peat in horticulture by 2023.

Joint statement

Continuing to extract, import, export, and sell peat as a product is indefensible. We are pleased to see that the UK and Welsh Governments recognise the importance of keeping peat in the ground and are finally proposing a ban of peat in the retail sector. However, this is an urgent issue, and further delay until 2024 is unnecessary. UK Governments must act decisively and bring about a speedy end to the retail sale of peat for horticulture – there is no time to waste.

In going peat-free, the UK would benefit from securing a thriving, sustainable horticultural industry, that leads the way in the development of sustainable, peat-free growing media.

Peatlands are a rare type of wetland habitat that are home to fascinating plants and other wildlife, some of which can only be found in these precious environments. Peatlands cover just 3% of Earth’s land-surface but these extraordinary habitats hold twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. Every year, millions of cubic metres of peat are dug out of the ground to be sold in UK markets for horticulture; these destructive actions fly in the face of the nature and climate goals of UK Governments. Protecting peatlands is a vital step we must take to put nature into recovery and to bring about an end to needless and vast carbon dioxide emissions. Healthy peatlands have the power to reduce the impacts of flooding, help to filter our drinking water, and are important conservators of our cultural heritage. Peatlands are vital habitats that urgently need our protection.

Signed By:

Organisations

  • The National Trust
  • The Wildlife Trusts
  • Barbican Wildlife Garden
  • Beaver Trust
  • Biodynamic Association UK
  • Brian May’s Save Me Trust
  • British Dragonfly Society
  • British Society of Soil Science
  • Bumblebee Conservation Trust
  • Buglife
  • Butterfly Conservation
  • Campaign for National Parks
  • Crichton Carbon Centre
  • Dig It Out
  • Environmental Justice Foundation
  • For Peat’s Sake
  • Friends of the Dales
  • Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Friends of Hurst Park
  • Froglife
  • Garden Organic
  • Gardening with Disabilities Trust
  • Greenpeace
  • Green Liberal Democrats
  • Gweebarra Conservation Group
  • Habitat Aid
  • Heeley City Farm
  • Hurst Road Allotments Association
  • Incredible Edible Bristol
  • Incredible Edible Lambeth
  • Naturewatch Foundation
  • Peat Free April
  • Peat Free Cymru
  • Pennington Community Allotment
  • People’s Trust for Endangered Species
  • Perthshire Wildlife
  • Pinwheel
  • Plantlife
  • RE-PEAT
  • Rewilding Britain
  • Rotary World Savers
  • RSPB
  • Snowdonia Society
  • SongBird Survival
  • Stone Lane Gardens
  • Sustain
  • Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA)
  • The Pollinator Project
  • The Species Recovery Trust
  • Veterans’ Growth
  • Wildlife and Countryside Link
  • Wild Card
  • Worcester Green Party
  • World Wildlife Fund For Nature (WWF)
  • Zero Carbon Yorkshire
  • ZSL (Zoological Society London)

Individuals & Companies

  • Alan Titchmarsh MBE
  • Caroline Lucas, MP
  • Ajay Tegala, Countryside Ranger and Presenter
  • Alexandra Campbell, The Middlesized Garden Blog & Vlog
  • Andy Sturgeon, Landscape and Garden Designer
  • Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, Green Party
  • Benito Wainwright, Evolutionary Biologist and Presenter
  • Billy Heaney, Zoologist, Presenter, and Filmmaker
  • Bleddyn Wynn-Jones, Crug Farm Plants
  • Brigit Strawbridge, Author
  • Carl Bovis, Nature Photographer
  • Charles Watson, Chairman, River Action UK
  • Charlie Bloom, Head Gardener, Riverhill Himalayan Gardens
  • Charlotte Harris, Landscape Designer
  • Christopher Collins, Head of Horticulture, Garden Organic
  • Cleve West, Garden Designer
  • David Stevens, Garden Designer/Landscape Architect
  • Dr Amy-Jane Beer, Biologist, Naturalist and Writer
  • Dr Catherine Chong, Farms To Feed Us
  • Dave Goulson, Professor of Biological Sciences and Author
  • Dr Fay Edwards MCIHort
  • Dr Henry Adams, Ecologist
  • Dr Jane Blythe, Head of Biology
  • Dr. Jennifer Jones, Soil Scientist and Nature Writer
  • Dr Lindsey Atkinson, Plant Environmental Physiologist, Honorary Fellow at University of Hull
  • Dr Sean McCormack, Vet, Conservationist, Presenter
  • Edward Parker, Environmentalist
  • Ellen Mary, Horticultural Broadcaster and Author
  • Francine Raymond, Garden Writer
  • Georgie Newbury, Common Farm Flowers
  • Gordon Buchanan MBE, Award-Winning Wildlife Cameraman, Presenter, and Public Speaker
  • Harriet Thompson, Harriet’s Plants
  • Helen Chen, National Collection Holder Disporum, Disporopsis, and Prosartes, Owner of Japonica Plants
  • Helen Picton, The Picton Garden
  • Hugo Bugg, Landscape Designer
  • Iolo Williams, Naturalist, TV Presenter, Conservationist, Writer, and Public Speaker
  • Isabella Tree, Knepp Estate
  • Jack Wallington, Landscape Designer and Writer
  • Jackie Currie, Garden Designer at Euphorbia Design and National Collection Holder of Allium Species and Hybrids
  • James Basson, Garden Designer
  • James Wong, Botanist and Broadcaster
  • Jamie Butterworth, Managing Director, Form Plants
  • Jane Perrone, Journalist and Podcaster
  • Jason Billin, Liberal Democrats
  • Jeff Harvey, Senior Scientist NIOO-KNAW
  • Joe Lycett, Comedian, Gardener, Lover
  • John Negus, Horticulturist, Broadcaster, and Author
  • Jonathan Hogarth, National Collection Holder for the National Collection of Miniature Hostas and Owner of Hogarth Hostas
  • Jonathan Snow, Garden Designer
  • Joshua Styles, Senior Ecologist, Botanical Specialist, Project Co-ordinator at North-West Rare Plant Initiative
  • Kate Bradbury, Author and Broadcaster
  • Kim Stoddart, The Organic Way Magazine Editor and Climate Change Savvy Journalist and Trainer
  • Manoj Malde, Garden Designer, TV Presenter & RHS Judge
  • Mark Diacono, Otter Farm
  • Mark Lane, TV and Radio Broadcaster, Author, Columnist and Award-Winning Garden Designer
  • Megan McCubbin, Zoologist, Conservationist, and Television Presenter
  • Nick Baker, Naturalist
  • Paul Hervey-Brookes, Garden Designer and Plantsman
  • Paul Julian PhD, Wetland Ecologist and Amateur Gardener
  • Professor Mark O’Shea MBE, Professor of Herpetology, University of Wolverhampton
  • Rob Smith, Freelance Writer for Gardening Press
  • Ross Barbour, Old Court Nurseries
  • Sara Venn, Garden Writer and Horticulturist
  • Sarah Price, Landscape Designer
  • Sarah Wilson, Roots and All Podcast
  • Sean McCormack, Vet, Wildlife presenter, Conservationist, and Naturalist
  • Stephanie Hafferty, No Dig Gardener and Author
  • Sue Wynn-Jones, Crug Farm Plants
  • Tim Fuller, The Plantsman’s Preference
  • Tim Lang, Professor Emeritus of Food Policy, City University of London
  • Tina Teearu, Ecologist
  • Tom Maskell, Head Gardener, MHort RHS
  • Tom Massey, Landscape and Garden Designer
  • Tom Stuart-Smith, Landscape Architect
  • Tracy Foster, Garden Designer
  • Val Bourne, Organic Gardener and Writer
  • Acres Wild
  • Adam Alexander, Seed Detective
  • Ade Sellars, Gardener
  • Alan Gardner, The Autistic Gardener
  • Alex Valk, Garden Writer
  • Alexandra Noble, Garden and Landscape Designer
  • Alexis Percival, Environmental and Sustainability Manager, NHS
  • Alison Levey, Garden Writer and Blogger
  • Alison Moore, Garden Designer, Writer and Photographer
  • Alison Tindale, Backyard Larder
  • Alistair Chisholm, Environmental Consultant, Clean Earth Collective
  • Amy Malin, Campaigner
  • Andrea Cooper, Head Gardener at Braxted Park Estate
  • Andrew Davenport, Composter, Nurseryman and Gardener
  • Andrew Parsons, Barrister, Mediator, Arbitrator, Orchid Enthusiast and Gardener
  • Anna Macphie, Conservation Scientist
  • Anna Matthews, Gardener
  • Anne G S Green, Campaigner
  • Anne Leonie Drover, Carer and Campaigner
  • Barry Stewart, Celtic Wild Flowers
  • Becky Searle, Blogger, Podcaster and Garden Writer
  • Bee Happy Plants and Seeds
  • Ben Hawthorne, Entomology Master of Research Student
  • Beth Otway, Horticulturist and Garden Writer
  • Billy Stott, Stotts Nursery
  • Brenda Smith, Bud Garden Centre
  • Capability Charlotte, Garden Designer
  • Carbon Gold
  • Carole Drake, Garden Photographer and Writer
  • Caroline Spencer-Palmer, Campaigner
  • Celtica Wildflowers
  • Charlie Burrell, Knepp Estate
  • Ciaran De Buitlear, Gardener and Climate Activist
  • Claire Brodie, The Little Green Plant Factory
  • Claire Brown, Flower Farmer, PlantPassion
  • Climate Explorers
  • Darran Jaques, Garden Designer
  • Darren S Holland, Amateur Gardener and Campaigner
  • Darryl Moore, Landscape Designer
  • Dave Allen, Ecologist
  • Debi Holland, Horticulturist and Garden Writer
  • Deirdre Lane, Founder of ShamrockSpring
  • Diane Sammons, Campaigner
  • Edible Culture
  • Elly Weir, Ecological Consultant, Eyebright Ecology
  • Eva Bishop, Horticulturist and Director at Beaver Trust
  • Fertile Fibre
  • Gavin Sheppard, Environmentalist
  • Gavin Sheppard, Founder and Chief Executive of Pinwheel
  • Gill Hickman, Writer and Biologist
  • Good Roots Barn
  • Growild Nursery
  • Hanna Armitage Winterbrook Garden Nurseries
  • Heather L Peacock, Zero Carbon Yorkshire
  • Helen Allsebrook, PR and Media Relations at Candide
  • Ian Northcott, Gardener
  • Incredible Edible Lambeth
  • Isaac Kenyon, CEO Climate Explorers
  • Jake Rayson, Wildlife Food Forest Garden Designer
  • James Lowman, Stalwart Plants
  • James Wade, Arboriculturist
  • Jane Cureton, Jemima’s Garden Seeds
  • Jane Hammett, Retired Lecturer in Horticulture
  • Jan Miller-Klein, Saith Fynnon Wildlife Plants
  • Jane at The Wild Flower Garden
  • Jane at The Laburnums
  • Janet Antrobus, Campaigner
  • Janet Manning, Horticultural and Water Management
  • Jill Sanders, Hurst Park Allotment Society, Friends of Hurst Park, with a special interest in the Thames River
  • Jean Vernon, Pollinator/Wildlife Author and Writer
  • Jenepher Zoe Munby, Campaigner
  • Jill Bruce, The Essex Federation of WI Lead Climate Ambassador
  • Jo Whitworth, Garden Photographer
  • Joanna Courtney, Paddock Plants
  • John Cossham, Master Composter
  • John Cottrell, Winterbrook Garden Nurseries
  • John Inglis, Chairman Friends of Hurst Park
  • John Walker, Gardening and Environment Writer, and Author
  • Jon Davies, Landscape Designer
  • Julia Martin-Ortega, Professor of Ecological Economics
  • Julie Norfolk, Fawside Farm Nursery
  • Juliette Williams, Nature Lover and Campaigner
  • Karen Lewing, City Councillor, Architect, Campaigner, and Amateur Gardener
  • Kate Foster, Environmental Artist
  • Keith Melton, Chair, Green Liberal Democrats, Historical Novelist
  • Knoll Gardens, Specialist Ornamental Grass Nursery
  • Kristina Hicks-Hamblin, Permaculturist and Garden Writer
  • Lady Lenzie, Gardener
  • Lexi Gee, Floral Fanatic
  • Liz Zorab, Gardener
  • Lin Hawthorne, FLS, Horticulturist, Author, and Editor
  • Lindsey Jones, The Wildflower Nursery
  • Little Green Space
  • Lucy Bailey, Gardener
  • Malcolm Allison Plants
  • Mandy Watson, Mandy Can U Dig It
  • Mandy, Incredible Vegetables
  • Mark Binnersley, Campaigner
  • Mark Kneebone, Garden Designer and Horticulturist
  • Matt Peskett, Garden Blogger
  • Mick Rock, Biodiversity Lead – St Mary’s East Molesey
  • Miles King, Writer and Conservationist
  • Morlas Plants
  • Mothin Ali, My Family Garden
  • Naomi Slade, Garden Writer, Designer and Consultant
  • Nic Wilson, Garden and Nature Writer
  • Nick Johnson, Botanical Horticulturist
  • Nigel Rogers, Horticulturist
  • Non Morris, Planting/Garden Designer and Writer
  • North Devon Chillies
  • Original Organics
  • Paul Julian PhD, Wetland Ecologist and Amateur Gardener
  • Paul Woods, Campaigner
  • Paula Baxter, Mill Pond Flower Farm
  • Paula McWaters, Gardening Editor
  • Peter Smith, Wall to Wall Plants
  • Philip Friend, Food Writer
  • Philip Nieuwoudt, New Wood Trees
  • Potash Nursery
  • Poppy Okotcha, Garden Writer, Ecological Grower and Educator
  • Rachel Prior, Garden Designer
  • Rachel Wilkes, Ducks and Daffodils
  • Rebecca Wheeler, Forest School Practitioner, Wild Flower Hour
  • Rhiannon Williams, Landscape Designer
  • Richard Boothman, Director ideostone Limited
  • Richard Pederick, HE Educator
  • Robbie Blackhall-Miles, Freelance Horticultural Consultant
  • Rob Courtney, Paddock Plants
  • Rob Whitworth, Garden Photographer
  • RocketGro
  • Rosi Rollings, Rosybee Plants
  • Ryan Sandford-Blackburn, Earthed Up!
  • Safe Soil UK
  • Sally Morgan, Gardener and Author
  • Sally Nex, Garden Writer
  • Sam Preston, Director, Gardner
  • Sandra Elsworth, Campaigner
  • Sandra Stewart, Celtic Wild Flowers
  • Sandy Lipo, Good Roots Barn
  • Seedball
  • Sophie Leguil, Freelance Botanist & Ecologist
  • Sophie Sellars, Writer
  • Stephen Hackett, Gardener
  • Stephen Warman, Botanist, Nature Conservationist, Writer
  • Steve Baker, Gardener
  • Steve Povey, Campaigner
  • Steve Williams, Landscape Designer
  • Stuart Lipo, Good Roots Barn
  • Sylvia Godfrey, Campaigner
  • Terka Acton, Garden Designer
  • The Cottage Herbery
  • TheHub.Earth
  • The Edible Bus Stop
  • The Real Soil Company
  • Victoria Benn, Campaigner and Writer
  • Wildlife Garden Project
  • Wormery
  • Zena Alkayat, Publisher of Bloom Magazine
  • Zoe Munby, Campaigner

Featured post

Published
Categorised as Statement

Statement on banning the sale of peat

The significant potential of peatlands for carbon storage and biodiversity means that having healthy, wet peat in the ground is an essential tool in tackling the climate and nature crises. The Climate Change Committee has said that, to meet our Net Zero ambitions, we must end the extraction and sale of peat for all horticultural uses across the UK, including in the professional sectors and across imports, by 2023.

We are therefore pleased that the UK and Welsh Governments have recognised the importance of keeping our peat in the ground and are taking steps to ban the sale of peat in the retail sector. However, they must move faster and with much greater ambition to make the comprehensive changes necessary to meet the CCC’s target, introducing the proposed ban as quickly as possible and immediately scoping out a rapid path to a complete ban, encompassing trade, exports, imports and the professional sector. The continued extraction and sale of peat is indefensible in light of these Governments’ nature and climate goals.

  • National Trust
  • Plantlife
  • RSPB
  • Butterfly Conservation
  • Friends of the Earth England, Wales & Northern Ireland
  • For Peat’s Sake
  • Garden Organic
  • Peat-free April
  • Snowdonia Society
  • Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming
  • Wales Environment Link
  • Wildlife & Countryside Link
Published
Categorised as Statement

Letter to Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Thursday 1st April 2021

Dear Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,

We ask you to announce a complete ban on the sale of peat compost in the UK before the end of 2021. If the Government wants to show global leadership on the climate crisis before it hosts the COP26 climate conference, this is a vital step.

When it comes to carbon storage, protecting our peatlands is critical. Globally, peatlands store half a trillion tonnes of carbon, twice as much as the world’s forests. Unearthing this precious store of carbon store to use in the garden is needless given that there are high quality peat-free alternatives available.

It has recently been discovered that our own UK peatlands are in such a dire state that they are a net source of carbon rather than a store of carbon, according to a Government report from January 2021 which was highlighted last week by Dr Simon Evans of Carbon Brief. The effect of draining peatland and its use for agriculture is implicated here.

In 2011, the Government set voluntary targets to end sale of peat-based compost for domestic use by 2020. This has been an abject failure. A survey by the Wildlife Trusts of leading garden retailers to be published tomorrow highlights how much an enforced ban is needed. Any of the big garden centre chains or supermarkets could make a bold decision and go peat-free.

Research shows the first lockdown in 2020 created three million new gardeners – many of whom would be dismayed to realise that in unwrapping the plastic of their shop-bought compost, they are exposing carbon-dense peat to the air which oxidises and produces CO2.

We’re also asking gardeners to join the #PeatFreeApril campaign by choosing peat-free compost alternatives – or better still, by making their own compost.

Now is the time for leadership on this and to introduce legislation to completely ban the sale of peat-based compost in the UK.

Signed,

Dave Goulson, Professor of Biological Sciences and author
Alan Titchmarsh MBE
Isabella Tree, author and conservationist
Caroline Lucas MP
Kate Bradbury, TV presenter and garden writer
James Wong, TV presenter and author
Natalie Bennett, Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle
Dr Mark Avery, conservationist and author
Cleve West, landscape designer
Mark Diacono, food writer, grower and photographer
Andy Sturgeon, garden designer
Heather Martin, chairperson of Mediterranean Plants and Gardens
Mike Dilger, naturalist and broadcaster
Matt Shardlow, conservationist and writer
Jack Wallington, landscape designer and author
Brigit Strawbridge Howard, conservationist and author
Sally Nex, garden writer
Kate Blincoe, nature writer and author
Jane Perrone, podcaster and garden writer
Laurence Rose, writer and conservationist
Nic Wilson, garden and nature writer
Sara Venn, garden writer and horticulturalist
Sally Morgan, gardener and author
Fay Edwards, horticultural journalist
Derek Niemann, conservationist and author
Dr Amy-Jane Beer, naturalist and writer
Gill Lewis, author
Beth Otway, horticulturist and garden writer
Diane Sammons, For Peats Sake
Hannah Rogers, Garden Organic
Stephanie Hafferty, gardener and author
Huw Edwards, gardener and author
Sarah Wilson, horticulturalist
John Walker, gardening and environment writer, author
Dr Mark Cocker, author and conservationist
Ben Hoare, naturalist and author
Sara Hudston, writer
Nicola Chester, nature writer and naturalist
Kim Stoddart, gardener and writer
Mary Colwill, author and conservationist
Jake Rayson, forest gardener
Richard Chivers, gardener and garden writer
Becky Serle, gardener and garden writer
Lucy Hutchings, gardener and garden writer
Dr Paul Evans, nature writer, radio broadcaster and senior lecturer
Andrea Cooper, WI Climate Ambassador
Pauline Handley, WI Climate Ambassador
John Cossham, Low Carbon Living exponent and Master Composter
Mark Binnersley, campaigner
Ian Carter, ornithologist and author
Mary Montague, poet and nature writer
Ed Douglas, writer and journalist
Harriet Mead, sculptor and president of the Society of Wildlife Artists
Cal Flyn, writer
Mark Hood, professional gardener and Green Party Councillor

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