Froglife, along with other supporters, are standing up for our peatlands and urging the UK government to take action and end the retail sale of peat for horticulture. You can read the statement and see the list of supporters below:
Continuing to extract, import, export, and sell peat as a product is indefensible. We are pleased to see that the UK and Welsh Governments recognise 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 metres 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.
What is it all about?
The UK Government has opened its peat consultation and is asking amateur gardeners, professional growers, and anyone interested to complete a questionnaire. The Wildlife Trusts have an easy-to-use form on their website – fill in your details and answer the questions to tell the UK and Welsh Governments why you want a ban on peat sales. Hurry, the Peat Consultation Period ends on the 18th March 2022 – make sure you have your say!
Tips on how you can help and go peat-free:
- Please encourage everyone you know to take Garden Organic’s Peat Free Pledge. Find out more here.
- The most sustainable compost is homemade and we’re encouraging everyone to start up a compost heap or a wormer. It’s the perfect time to start composting! More info here.
- Do you have a community composting scheme in your area? Why not start one up? Restaurants, schools, colleges, offices, and anywhere with a small area of outside space can accommodate a wormery or compost heap.
- Does your garden centre stock peat-free compost and plant’s raised peat-free? Use Garden Organic’s letter template to help you draft an email or letter to your local garden centre or nursery here.
Why are peatlands important?
As well as supporting our species with habitat and food, peatlands are critical for preventing and mitigating the effects of climate change: preserving biodiversity, minimising flood risk, and ensuring safe drinking water. They are the largest natural terrestrial carbon store- storing more carbon than all other vegetation types in the world combined!
Damaged peatlands are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for almost 5% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Peatland restoration can reduce these emissions significantly.
How can composting benefit reptiles and amphibians?
Compost heaps make an excellent reptile habitat. Slow-worms, in particular, are often found buried within them, feeding on the numerous slugs and ants. Frogs, toads and newts may also forage or hibernate in a compost heap.
Grass snakes sometimes use compost heaps to lay their eggs in. There is a good, constant temperature within the heap, allowing the eggs to incubate whilst being well-protected from predators. Several females may use the same site to incubate their eggs.