Peat Ban

England’s gardeners to be banned from using peat-based compost: Sales of peat for use on private gardens and allotments will be banned in England from 2024, the government has announced.

Environmental campaigners have long called for stricter laws to restore peatlands. As well as carbon capture and storage, peatlands provide habitat to some of the UK’s most threatened wildlife, and also filter water and prevent flooding downstream. But a combination of draining them for agricultural use, burning to create the right habitat for game birds and harvesting for compost means just 13% are in a near-perfect state.

In 2011, the government agreed that the horticultural industry should voluntarily bring about an end to the use of peat, but by 2021 it still accounted for 29.8% of commercially sold compost. A public consultation, which received 5,000 responses, found 95% of people supported the ban and the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) admitted the voluntary approach had not succeeded.

Bagged peat sold by retailers accounts for 70% of the peat sold in the UK, according to Defra. At this stage, the ban will not apply to those working in the horticultural trade, and that a date for this would be decided after a discussion with industry bodies in September.

The chair of Natural England, Tony Juniper, said: “This ban on the sale of peat-based compost and work to phase out use in other areas is an essential step toward protecting these valuable natural assets and allowing for the recovery of degraded areas.”

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