Views sought on potential peat ban for amateur horticulture sector

The government has today (Saturday, December 18) published a consultation on potential plans to ban the use of peat in horticulture in England and Wales by the end of this Parliament.

The consultation will open on March 18, 2021 and will run for 12 weeks.

It will also seek views on the following:

  • Introducing point-of-sale measures for bagged growing media, such as a point-of-sale charge for the purchase of any growing media bag containing peat; and mandatory labelling and point-of-sale material containing detail of the environmental reasons for eschewing products containing peat;
  • Mandatory reporting of the volume of peat sold for all sellers of peat and peat containing products; and
  • Potential exemptions, including for scientific purposes and a maximum amount of peat allowed in certain products, which will need to be strictly defined and enforced to prevent exploitation.

“Today’s consultation directly contributes towards the government’s net zero carbon emissions target,” said Environment Minister Rebecca Pow.

The protection of our peatlands will also help us deliver on commitments in the 25-year Environment Plan whilst also preserving these landscapes for future generations.

“Our peatlands are an incredibly valuable natural resource. They play a crucial role in locking up carbon, provide habitats for wildlife and help with flood mitigation.

“The amateur gardening sector has made huge strides in reducing peat use and there are now more sustainable and good quality peat-free alternatives available than at any other time, so I am confident now is the right time to make the shift permanent.”

The government has also today awarded funding of over £4 million to help groups develop new projects seeking to restore peatland systems to a natural and healthy state at a landscape scale.

Grants have been awarded to 10 projects from across the country including in the Fens, Dorset, Somerset and Yorkshire.

“Our peatlands exemplify the multiple benefits society can reap from healthy natural systems. Healthy peatlands are among our most precious habitats, offering a home to some our scarcest plants and animals. They comprise diverse landscapes too, located not only in our remote uplands but also in lowland areas, such as fens,” said Tony Juniper, chair of Natural England, which will deliver the funding.

Peatlands are also among our most beautiful landscapes, including in the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, that we hope even more people will enjoy during the years ahead. By restoring peatlands, we can protect and increase all of these valuable benefits.

“We are proud to be able to deliver the next round of funding for the Discovery Grants, which will unlock barriers faced for smaller, up and coming projects and will make a major difference to protecting these precious habitats. This will contribute to building a wider Nature Recovery Network across the entire country.”