Banning peat in horticulture? Have your say...

Banning peat in horticulture? Have your say...

The government has launched a public consultation on ‘Ending the retail sale of peat in horticulture in England and Wales.’

This is an important step in the banning of peat from growing compost mixes, as well as from the millions of plants that are sold in peat mixes. Garden Organic has responded to the consultation, and we would urge you to add your voice too.

The message to the horticultural industry needs to be loud and clear: there is no need for peat in products for gardeners and growers. And change needs to happen soon.

Make sure your voice is heard…

  • Anyone can respond to the consultation, available online here. It is open until March 18th.
  • Alternatively, you can email or write to DEFRA at horticultural.peat@defra.gov.uk.  This will allow you to give fuller answers.

To help guide your response, below are some suggested brief answers to the key questions. An individual response holds more weight than numerous ‘copy and paste’ responses, so feel free to change/add/amend our words.

Q. The current approach consists of voluntary targets in England to end the use of peat in horticulture by 2020 for the amateur sector. Should we continue with the voluntary approach? 
No.

Q.  If we were to revise the date for ending the use of peat in horticulture for the amateur sector, when should that date be?
2023. The Government’s Climate Change Committee has recommended that peat should no longer be extracted beyond 2023. This seems a realistic date for both the growing media industry and for retail.  

Q. Do you think there should be a retail sales ban for peat and peat containing products in England and Wales?
Yes.

Q Do you think that the measure to increase the price of growing media containing peat will have an impact on consumer behaviour?
Yes. As with plastic bag surcharge, it will:

  1. Raise awareness of peat issues amongst gardeners/consumers
  2. Change the retail model of growing media being sold cheaply. It’s important that people understand the cost of natural resources – including those beyond peat - and help gardeners understand the true cost of gardening inputs.

Q. Would this measure encourage the sale of more peat-free alternative growing media?
Yes.
It is similar to levelling the cost between food that has been grown organically and that which has been grown in an agrichemical system.  

Q  Do you have a view on what retailers should do with the levy money raised through the point-of-sale bag charge? 
Donate funding to peatland restoration projects. There is a risk that retailers might use the levy money to enable a cheaper price for peat products, thus removing the intended benefit. Therefore we believe the consumer will want: 

  • peatland restoration, as it underpins the educative process on issues to do with the damage of peat extraction. 
  • to see the monies raised sent to an independent body, not retained with the industry. Only then is there true transparency in data arising.

Q. In addition to the point of sale charge, do you think having mandatory labelling of growing media bags containing peat would have an impact on consumer behaviour?
Yes.
This depends on clarity of labelling. But it could help with the education of consumer on peat issues.  However, we recognise that peat is one of many constituent parts within a bag of growing media, and they all have a sustainability impact. The industry needs to be pushed to be far more transparent on what goes in a growing media bag.

Q.  When would it be feasible to ban the sale of peat and peat containing products for the professional sector?
I support the Climate Change Committee’s advice to Government to end the use of peat in UK horticulture by 2023.

Don’t forget, you have until March 18th to take part. Further information on peat and peat-free growing can be found here For Peat's Sake
 

Posted: 
Thursday, 3 March 2022