4 Jun 2011

For peat's sake listen!

When will the Government phase out the use of peat in horticulture? The evidence is overwhelming - extracting peat destroys vital wildlife habitats and is responsible for loads of greenhouse gas emissions. Peat bogs are major carbon sinks - some estimate we have lost 95% of them already - when peat is extracted it releases huge amounts of carbon - indeed the peat industry in this country leads to emissions equivalent to 100,000 cars.

What’s more, there are plenty of peat-free alternatives available - and research by 'Which?' found that alternative peat-free compost can outperform the traditional product. Last year the consumer watchdog awarded Best Buys for container compost to three peat-free varieties - Vital Earth Tub and Basket Compost; New Horizon Multi-Purpose Compost; and Vital Earth Multi-Purpose Compost.

The Government even accepts this argument but for some reason is not acting despite even the big gardening businesses wanting action.

For more than ten years we have had a voluntary approach to phasing out peat use, with a target of using 90% peat alternatives by 2010. As RSPB note: "The result has been a spectacular failure - growing media in the UK is still 70% peat!"

Peat-free is currently more expensive than peat and it seems the government is happy for us to continue using it. However with a levy per litre they could move towards a complete phase out.  Garden Organic have launched a pledge for people to sign up to not using peat - that is part of a lobby to get the government to end peat sales by 2016.

No comments: