35 key environmental organizations, including the National Trust and The Wildlife Trusts and over 150 high-profile names from horticulture and politics have released a joint statement urging the UK government to take faster, more effective action to ban peat in horticulture:
Protecting our peatlands and ending the use of peat in horticulture is a vital issue – it’s unusual for so many key organizations covering all areas of conservation to be united on the same issue. These organizations have teamed up with high-profile individuals to send the same clear and urgent message to the government - take faster, more effective action to protect peatlands and ban the sale of horticultural peat.
Continuing to extract, import, export, and sell peat as a product is indefensible. We are pleased to see that the UK and Welsh Governments recognize the importance of keeping peat in the ground and are finally proposing a ban of peat in the retail sector. However, this is an urgent issue, and further delay until 2024 is unnecessary. UK Governments must act decisively and bring about a speedy end to the retail sale of peat for horticulture – there is no time to waste.
In going peat-free, the UK would benefit from securing a thriving, sustainable horticultural industry, that leads the way in the development of sustainable, peat-free growing media.
Peatlands are a rare type of wetland habitat that are home to fascinating plants and other wildlife, some of which can only be found in these precious environments. Peatlands cover just 3% of Earth’s land-surface but these extraordinary habitats hold twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. Every year, millions of cubic meters of peat are dug out of the ground to be sold in UK markets for horticulture; these destructive actions fly in the face of the nature and climate goals of UK Governments. Protecting peatlands is a vital step we must take to put nature into recovery and to bring about an end to needless and vast carbon dioxide emissions. Healthy peatlands have the power to reduce the impacts of flooding, help to filter our drinking water, and are important conservators of our cultural heritage. Peatlands are vital habitats that urgently need our protection.
This statement was published this morning on Peat Free April’s website – the full list of supporters are listed here: www.peatfree.org.uk.