How important is it for gardeners to go peat-free and protect our precious peatlands around the world?
In 2011, the government pledged to phase out the use of peat in garden products by 2020 and in commercial use by 2030. We support these government targets and are playing our part by going peat-free at our places.
Why is peat so important?
Peat is hugely important to our planet for lots of reasons. It acts as a carbon store, it's a great habitat for wildlife, it has a role in water management, and preserves things well for archaeology.
We look after 40 peatland Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 3 per cent of raised bogs, significant fens and valley mires, and huge tracts of blanket bog. Our peatlands in England and Wales hold 2 per cent of the total carbon in the UK, in soil and vegetation.
Some of our peatland has been damaged in the past by drainage, over-grazing, burning and extraction. We’re working hard to reverse these negative impacts and are now managing and restoring many of our sites to create resilient eco-systems, which will increase carbon storage capacity and reduce emissions.
But much of the peat found in the compost available in the UK now comes from peatlands elsewhere in Europe - and we have a responsibility to protect these precious habitats from the problems we've experienced.
How you can help
You can help by buying peat-free compost for use in your own garden or allotment, and encouraging retailers and the Government in their efforts to phase out the use of peat in gardening products.