NFU call for exemptions as Defra announce peat ban

NFU Horticulture & Potatoes Board chair Martin Emmett

Defra has announced its intention to have a complete ban on the use of peat in commercial horticulture by 2030, with a period of exemptions being required by professional growers between 2026 and 2030. NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board chair Martin Emmett gives his reaction.

The long-awaited news follows previous announcements that a ban on retail peat (bagged growing media) will become effective in 2024.

NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board chair Martin Emmett said: “The industry has been making good progress towards removing peat from the supply chain, but we are aware many of our members will simply not be in a position to be peat free by 2026.

“It is vital that all appropriate exemptions are available to growers and do not restrict production where alternatives to peat are not available or commercially viable. 

“It is also critical that any measures required of UK growers are legislated for imports as well, so that we can retain a level playing field.”

Research and development needed

Martin Emmett went on to explain, “Rather than a ban we have maintained that a more effective solution is for government to support growers to find sustainable alternatives through funding and research and development.”

The NFU will continue to work with Defra and within the industry Growing Media Taskforce to represent the best interests of UK growers.

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