The sale of peat-based compost is set to be banned after years of delays, the Government will announce this week.
Peat compost, often sold as ‘multi purpose’ compost, with no clear labelling showing that it contains peat. The majority is imported from Ireland and eastern Europe, but some is still dug in the UK. The damage to wildlife in peatlands is devastating and the carbon footprint is huge. According to the RSPB every year UK gardeners are responsible for 630,000 tonnes of carbon emissions by buying peat compost or plants grown in peat.
Most peat free composts contain wood based materials – incl bark, sawdust, coir, wood or paper waste usually from sustainable forestry as their main ingredient, with added green waste.
The Government will also set out plans to hugely increase tree planting to 30,000 hectares a year by 2024, in line with the Conservatives’ manifesto commitments. The plan promises about £20m for nurseries to grow native trees to ensure that viruses and diseases such as ash dieback are not imported from abroad.