Wildlife Trusts incensed as Defra eases peat ban

Defra (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) has confirmed that while some peat-containing products will be banned from shelves in 2027, others will be exempt from a ban until 2030.

This means that for some professional growers, peat use will still be permitted for the next seven years. This decision has reversed the government’s decision last year to ban the sale of bagged peat compost in England by the end of 2024.

Ailis Watt, peat policy officer at The Wildlife Trusts, described the decision as ‘bitterly disappointing, adding: “Last year we welcomed the news that the UK Government would ban the sale of bagged peat compost in England by the end of 2024. The Wildlife Trusts hoped that a ban on all peat products would follow shortly after this date.

“These precious habitats are vital for nature and for our climate because they store vast amounts of carbon and are home to some of the UK’s most special wildlife.

“We need to see far greater levels of ambition if the UK is to relinquish its status as one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth or come close to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Peatlands must be better protected as a matter of urgency.”

The Wildlife Trusts have been urging successive governments to enforce bans on peat products for the last 30 years.

Now, they have released a handbook, Greener Gardening: Perfecting Peat-Free, which provides tips and tricks for getting the most out of compost, a guide for making compost at home, and information about buying peat-free products, to encourage gardeners to move away from using peat in their gardens.

Sara Booth-Card, peatlands campaigner for The Wildlife Trusts, says: “Buying or making sustainable, peat-free compost is an easy way for gardeners to help nature and the climate. This free guide provides lots of useful information to help people transition to peat-free gardening this year.”

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