Government’s 2020 peat-free target way off track

Ministers must get tougher on peat used in the horticultural industry.
  Published:  28 Oct 2020    |      1 minute read

Friends of the Earth is calling on ministers to act after new figures revealed that the horticultural industry was way off track for meeting a government target of stopping peat use by amateur gardeners by 2020.

The new Growing Media Monitor report, published today, shows that between 2015 and 2019 the amount of peat contained in growing media – the material that plants grow in – only reduced from almost 53% to 41.5% in the consumer sector. 

In 2010, the government announced its aim to end peat use in domestic gardens by 2020 [1].

Paul de Zylva of Friends of the Earth said:

“Despite the government pledge to end peat sales to amateur gardeners by 2020 it’s still being stacked high and sold cheap in most garden centres and DIY stores across the UK. 

“Peatlands are vital for supporting wildlife, holding back flood waters and storing carbon. The government must do far more to protect them. 

“The latest figures show the horticulture sector is dragging its feet in ending peat-use – at this rate it will take them many years to go peat-free.”

Today is also the first anniversary of a government commitment to ban burning on peatlands. A group of England’s leading environmental organisations is calling on the government to do the right thing for people and nature by making good on its repeated promise to ban the practice of deliberate burning on the nation’s valuable peatlands [2]. 

Paul de Zylva added:

“Letting the nation’s unique peatlands go up in smoke is senseless and makes it harder for ministers to hit their pledges to restore nature, cut flood risk and store carbon to stave off dangerous climate breakdown. 

“Whatever ministers have been told by lobbyists, burning peatlands has no place in credible nature conservation practice. It’s time to ban the burn and invest properly in peatland restoration.”

ENDS

 

Notes to editors: 

1. In December 2010 the government issued a press release to announce the voluntary phase out of peat use by 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-calls-for-peat-to-be-phased-out
2. One year on from saying they would ban burning on peatlands, the government is still prevaricating (coalition press release – issued under embargo for 00:01 hours, 28 October 2020): https://friendsoftheearth.uk/nature/one-year-saying-they-would-ban-burning-peatlands-government-still-prevaricating