Now Reading
Environment| Environment

Environment| Environment

New data shows that peat derived from carbon-rich habitats accounted for more than a third in all UK compost sales in 2021.

The Horticultural Trades Association is opposed to a ban on peat sale. These figures were providedIn its response to a government consult. Ministers suggested banning peat compost sales to gardeners by 2020. Ministers also stated that they would like to ban sales to professional growers by 2028. The earlier voluntary goal to end retail sales by 2020 was not met.

In 2021, almost 5 million cubic metres of compost were sold. Three-quarters of these were purchased by gardeners. While only 30% of their compost purchases were peat-based, more than half of the compost purchased by horticulture companies was peat. Peat accounted for 35% of total sales, compared to 41% in 2020.

Peatlands make up 3% of the earth’s surface, but they contain twice the carbon as all the forests. The climate crisis is driven by the destruction and degrading of peatlands. 87% of UK peatlands are in decline and emit 10m tonnes of CO2 per year.

Dianna Kopansky from the Global Peatlands Initiative, UN Environment, praised UK’s plan to end retail sales by 2024. However, she added: Additional action is required to reduce the 1.7million cubic meters of peat sold annually within the UK.

Monty Don is a broadcaster and gardener. He said: Peat extraction does great harm to the environment [and]It is simply false to say that there aren’t viable alternatives. It is time to accept that our gardens are intrinsically linked to the wider landscape.

The HTA stated that an industry taskforce had promised to end retail sales between 2025-2028 and horticultural sales from 2028-2030 in its consultation response. It stated that a ban is unnecessary. It said that government actions should not be detrimental to an industry that, at its core, contributes to excellent mental and physical health and well-being. [and]It improves the environment.

HTA claimed: The removal peat in horticulture if there is no commercially viable alternative material could have unintended effects, such as food security or access to affordable food. It also requests exemptions for mushroom production and plug plants.

The Royal Horticultural Society is now selling only peat-free compost. Prof Alistair Griffiths, its director of science, said that all peat sales should cease as soon as possible. Because peatlands are the world’s largest carbon store, they provide valuable ecosystems and important water services for wildlife. Kathryn Brown is the director of climate and evidence at The Wildlife Trusts. She stated that there are no uses of peat for horticulture that could justify the harmful impacts of its removal.

See Also

The Consultation with the governmentThere are other measures that can be taken to prevent an outright ban. These include an increase in the price of peat compost or the provision of information about the environmental impacts of peat at the point where it is sold. The government denied that it intended to ban the sale or use of peat-based pots.

A large amount of UK peat is imported from Ireland and other EU countries. Ireland’s state-backed company Bord na Mna halted all peat extraction for 2020Despite the fact that its reserves are still being shopped,

Kopansky said that the end of peat harvesting at Bord na Mna means it is time to invest and transition away form peat.

Dobbies and the Co-op have implemented their own bans in 2021 and 2023, respectively. B&Q and Dobbies will follow suit in 2023. Alternatives to peat include compost made of wood fibre and bark, wool and coir as well as compost made from garden waste.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.