New consultation will explore ending the sale of peat

A new consultation in England and Wales will discuss ending the sale of peat to amateur gardeners. 

Once the consultation closes in March 2022, the English and Welsh governments must publish a strategy that sets out a framework to end peat use by 2024 at the latest. 

The UK’s peatlands store as much carbon as the forests of the UK, Germany, and France combined. However, 80% of these habitats are now degraded. 

The extraction of peat for horticulture reasons contributes to this by stripping peatlands of vegetation, exposing peat to the atmosphere, and allowing carbon dioxide to be released in massive quantities.

green leaf on brown soil

The Wildlife Trusts are calling for: 

  • An immediate end to the sale and use of bagged peat compost in the amateur market.
  • An immediate end to the sale and use of peat in the professional market.
  • The immediate cessation of the extraction of peat from the UK’s peatlands.
  • An immediate end to the importation of peat for compost; two-thirds of peat used in the UK is imported. An import ban must therefore be implemented alongside an extraction ban in order to prevent ‘offshoring’ of peatland damage to countries with less stringent legislation.
  • Restoration of all bogs damaged by the removal of peat as a priority.

Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts says: ‘The UK Government has been dithering over this crucial issue for decades and the consultation on the use of peat by gardeners is long overdue. But this consultation is a damp squib. It refers to amateur gardeners – but why not professional gardeners and the rest of the industry? It refers to the damaging effects of peat extraction – but this activity is still allowed in England which is absurd given the excellent alternatives to peat that are now available.

‘Peatlands are vital carbon-storing habitats and it’s absolutely crucial that they remain intact for nature’s sake and to help us tackle climate change. When a peatland is degraded or extracted from, it stops storing carbon and emits it instead. So it’s vital that UK governments ensure peatlands function as nature intended by taking urgent action right now. This means an immediate ban on the use of peat by individuals and the wider horticulture industry, an immediate end to extracting peat, and a ban on the import of peat in any form – right now.’





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