27 AUG 2022

peat ban confirmed for 2024!

The public has voted! And pretty much unanimously. A whopping 95% of people decreed that amateur gardeners in England should not be able to buy peat from 2024 onwards. In effect, compost containing peat, dug up from precious peat bogs, will no longer be on sale in gardening centres and supermarkets.

Despite lobbying from industry groups, who were pushing for a voluntary approach rather than an outright ban, saying that alternatives like coconut coir were not yet well enough developed or widely available (really?), the ban has been confirmed.

The lobbyists were fighting a losing battle as the public consultation (which received 5000 responses) has proved. The sale of peat-based composts was already in steady decline, dipping below 30% of commercially sold compost. However, the ban does not yet affect professional gardeners but discussions on this will take place with industry bodies in September of this year. According to Defra, bagged peat sold by retailers makes up 70% of the peat sold in the UK.

Peatlands are an essential natural resource. Not only are they the UK’s most effective carbon trap, they prevent flooding and provide a unique habitat for indigenous flora and fauna. Draining them to remove peat for compost is an environmental disaster that has been going on for far too long. As part of the UK’s commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the government has a target of restoring 35,000 hectares of peatlands in England by 2025. Six projects set up to restore 7,000 hectares of peatland will receive £11 million between them.

But there is still more to do. Although Wales is likely to introduce a similar ban by May 2024, Northern Ireland dropped proposals to phase out peat compost sales by 2025. And no date has yet been set to ban ‘peat-related gardening products’ in Scotland despite the SNP’s 2021 election manifesto pledge.

At For Peat’s Sake, we will continue fighting to protect our precious peatlands by bringing you the finest professional-grade coir compost that is not only great for the environment but excellent for your plants too.