Closed petition Ban peat compost.

Peat is vital in the fight against climate breakdown as it stores vast amounts of carbon. It also provides habitat for a diverse range of wildlife. Therefore we should not be using peat compost to improve the soil in our gardens. Other organic matter is available and is effective for growers.

This petition closed early because of a General Election Find out more on the Petitions Committee website

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Government responded

This response was given on 29 October 2019

The Government is committed to phasing out the use of horticultural peat by 2030. Further measures will be set out in the England Peat Strategy. We encourage gardeners to switch to peat alternatives.

The Government continues to be committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England by 2030. In 2011, we set a voluntary target to phase out the use of horticultural peat in the amateur sector by 2020, and the professional sector by 2030. This commitment was reconfirmed in the 25 Year Environment Plan (25 YEP), and while some progress has been made towards this goal, we also stated in the 25 YEP that if we have not seen sufficient movement to peat alternatives by 2020, then we would take further measures.

While some key players in the industry have been rising to the challenge, and there have been examples of some good progress to date, discussions since 2016 suggests that progress had stalled and the voluntary target approach has not made as much progress as hoped. We are currently developing further measures and will set out our plans in the forthcoming England Peat Strategy.

Commercial extraction of peat in England is licenced on approximately 627 ha of peatland across 24 sites (representing <0.1% of the peat area of England). The National Planning Policy Framework, first published in 2012, ends the granting of new licences for peat extraction. Therefore, peat extraction in England will end when the remaining licences come to an end. This is 2042 at the latest, although discussions suggests that it will be earlier than this.

Two thirds of the peat sold in the UK is imported from Europe, so it is also important that we focus on reducing demand for peat in horticulture to protect peatland outside of the UK.

We are working with the industry to make the transition to peat alternatives and to overcome the barriers to their use. For example, we are jointly funding research with the industry to overcome barriers to peat replacement in professional horticulture. This £1 million project will end in December and has shown promising results, and will culminate in a growers’ conference in early 2020. The project is co-funded by the Agricultural and Horticulture Development Board, growing media manufacturers and commercial growers. It is being undertaken by ADAS and the Quadram Institute and involves commercial scale trails hosted by commercial growers.

We have also worked with the industry to develop a Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media which allows manufacturers and retailers to make informed choices on growing media ingredients, launched in September.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs