For Peat's Sake....
For Peat's Sake....
Defra has confirmed that sales of peat to amateur gardeners will be banned in England from 2024. The move follows a consultation and is part of a pledge to restore peat lands.
These wild, boggy places are sometimes referred to as the UK's rainforests, because of their ability to soak up vast quantities of carbon. When peat dries out it emits rather than stores greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change.
Response to this Defra announcement was immediate! James Barnes from the Growing Media Taskforce (GMT)* commented “We have provided hard data and practical solutions to Defra from across our industry. However, it is disappointing that today’s decision does not appear to be based on the evidence available.”
“The UK is leading Europe in peat removal and while this consultation process has been running, the industry has developed and put into progress a plan to remove peat voluntarily that is already seeing significant results”.
Red Tape Blockage
“Any reluctance to embrace peat-free growing media is based on the significant red tape and technical barriers to removing peat which government needs to work with the industry to address.”
“Due to the current lack of quality alternative materials to peat, an immediate ban on peat could impact significantly on the availability of growing media.”
Quality Issues & High Prices
“This would mean that the UK’s 30 million gardeners would be faced with products which have not gone through a lengthy enough quality assurance process, and which would have higher costs. All this at a time when so many are already challenged by the extremely high cost of living.”
“The industry is developing new products and alternatives to peat and is making real progress on this journey. It has voluntarily committed to removing peat from growing media in retail as early as 2025 and last year made real strides, removing 30% of peat from compost in one year alone.”
“Defra’s announcement does not support progress and we repeat our request to the government that it reignites its energies into addressing the barriers to alternatives rather than unnecessarily legislating.”
“The Sustainable Growing Media Task Force was established in 2011, under the chairmanship of Dr Alan Knight OBE, to advise on how best to overcome the barriers to reducing peat use in horticulture in England.