Under plans published Saturday by the government, peat will be banned from being sold to gardeners in England & Wales by 2024. Ministers also stated that they aimed to eliminate peat use in professional horticulture by 2028.
In 2011, the government made it mandatory for compost retailers to stop selling peat by 2020. Peat consumption fell by 25% between 2011-2019, but it increased by 9% in 2020 because of Covid lockdowns that boosted gardening as an hobby.
Peat is the UK’s largest carbon store. It traps as much as tropical rainforests per square meter. However, it is routinely excavated for horticulture. This results in the release of carbon dioxide, which is a contributing factor to the climate crisis. Peatlands are important habitats for rare species, and help to filter water and reduce flooding.
However, Consultation with the governmentThere are also measures that are not intended to ban peat. These include an additional fee on peat compost or information about the environmental impact of peat at point of sale. The government stated that it didn’t intend to ban the sale or use of pots containing peat and that it would not affect existing peat extraction licenses.
Rebecca Pow, environment minister, stated that the government is committed to bringing forward the ban [on the sale of peat to gardeners]This is an absolute commitment that will be fulfilled by the end this parliament.
She said that peatlands are a valuable natural resource. There are more sustainable and high-quality alternatives to peat than ever before, so now is the time to make the shift permanent. There are many sustainable alternatives to peat, including compost made from wood fibre, bark, wool, and coir.
Pow stated that the weaker provisions were included because it is best to be fully notified with as much evidence as possible and data. However, some people in industry are still pushing for other routes.
Craig Bennett, Wildlife Trusts, said that the government has been dithering about this crucial issue since decades. The consultation on the use and benefits of peat for gardeners is long overdue. But it’s a damp screed.
It refers the negative effects of peat mining, but it is still permitted in England. We need an immediate ban on individuals using peat and the wider horticulture industries, as well as an immediate stop to peat extraction.
Professor Dave Goulson from the University of Sussex said that we need to stop pushing the can down. While the government recognizes that we are in a climate crisis, it isn’t prepared to stop the loss of vital carbon stores for ornamental purposes in our gardens. We must immediately stop peat extraction. Pow stated that historic licenses that allowed the extraction of peat are being reviewed.
James Wong, Kate Bradbury, Alan Titchmarsh and Kate Bradbury are just a few of the prominent gardeners who have backed a ban. Monty Don has also called for peat in compost environmental vandalism.
Peat may be harder to find in the UK due to the fact that most of it is imported from Ireland, where the state-backed company has been established. Bord na Mna halted all peat extraction for 2020Although its reserves are still being sold, it has been banned. Dobbies and the Co-op have implemented their own bans in 2021 and 2023, respectively. B&Q followed 2023.
70% of peat goes to gardeners, 30% goes to professional growers. According to the government, a ban of both would reduce CO.2In the next two decades, emissions are expected to increase by 4m tons
The government also announced 4m funding to 10 peat restoration projects in England, including the Fens and Dorset, Somerset, Yorkshire, and Somerset. Nearly 90% of England’s peatland is in a poor state, and it emits 10m tons of CO2.2A year. Ministers announced that they would be extending the contract for a year in May. 50m plan to save 35,000 hectares de peatlandAbout 1% of the UK’s total population will be reached by 2025. Pow said that it is a positive start because these investments leveraged other funds that were focused on water management or increasing biodiversity.