28 FEB 2022

WHen will peat be banned?

According to the UK government, ‘the use of peat in the amateur horticulture sector’ is set to be banned by the end of the current Parliament i.e. 2024. The impetus for this proposal is ‘to protect precious peatland habitats and meet net zero targets’. At the time of writing this blog post, the government is in the middle of the ‘seeking views’ phase which means that interested parties and lobbyists can voice their opinions during a 12-week consultation period, due to end mid-March 2022.

Regular visitors to our For Peat’s Sake site will be well aware of the back story to protecting peat. But for those of you who’ve happened upon us via Google, here’s a quick summary of why peat is so valuable to our planet.

Peat bogs constitute the UK’s largest carbon store, but these bogs are regularly dug up to provide compost for horticultural usage. 70% of peat sold in the UK is ‘bagged retail growing media’ or, in more common parlance, bags of compost from garden centres. Peatlands also provide crucial habitats for diverse and, in some cases, scarce wildlife as well as helping with mitigating floods. They also constitute some of the nation’s most beautiful landscapes, making up large tracts of our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Beauty. It’s no surprise then that keeping peat in bogs where it belongs is a founding tenet of For Peat’s Sake.

There are plenty of sustainable alternatives to peat compost available on the market, such as wood fibre, bark, green compost, wool and coir. For Peat’s Sake recommends its light, clean, professional-grade coir, made from discarded coconut husks. It’s available in retailers nationwide and you can order it online from this site. It’s the best growing medium for your plants, safeguarding your investment. As we all know, most plants don’t come cheap so treating them to the substrate chosen by commercial growers worldwide makes sense.

Back to the government, hopefully they will press ahead with a full ban, although there have been murmurings that cigarette-packet style warnings about the environmental impact of peat could be imposed, watering down the proposals. When the results of the consultation phase are known, we’ll post our reaction here. For Peat’s Sake, let’s hope they do the right thing!