Phasing out peat use in horticulture: Defra call for evidence

Published 20 December 2021

Horticulture and potatoes
Peat harvest, Somerset levels_13132

In their efforts to protect peatland habitats and meet net zero targets, the UK Government have set out plans to ban the use of peat in horticulture. Find out how you can share your views so that your voice is heard.

A new government consultation, Ending the retail sale of peat in horticulture in England and Wales, launched by Defra and the Welsh government this week, proposes to end the use of peat in 2024 for retail, and for 2028 for commercial growers.

NFU members are being encouraged to share their views on proposals to phase out peat use in horticulture.

How to respond

Here is what we want members to do:

Collaboration

The industry's Growing Media Taskforce, which the NFU is a member, has highlighted collaboration as the key to solving the issue of peat-use.

Following the launch of the consultation, a statement released by the Growing Media Taskforce calls on Government support to unlock policy barriers to finding the required volume and sufficient quality of alternative materials.

Read the Growing media taskforce announces horticulture’s commitment to responsible sourcing statement.

While primarily focused on amateur use (bagged compost), the consultation also seeks to understand the complexities of removing peat from commercial horticulture and is calling for evidence from growers.

Your views matter

Defra is particularly interested in hearing the views in these areas:

  • Technical barriers to replacing peat in growing media
  • Availability and cost of peat alternatives
  • The impact of imports of products from where peat use is permitted

The NFU would welcome evidence from members on these areas as well as additional views regarding how realistic timescales could be achieved.

Research and development 

NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board Chairman, Ali Capper acknowledged that more could be done into research and developments of alternative. She explained, “Businesses want to do the right thing for the environment and have already made steps in finding alternatives to peat use. However, some sectors in commercial horticulture will simply not have alternatives available by the end of this decade and will need a longer transitional period to phasing out peat use.

“Much more can be done with the support of Government to unlock opportunities in research and development of peat alternatives.

“I would encourage all growers to respond as individual businesses to this consultation, as well as feeding views into the NFU response”.

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