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Environmental groups and Monty Don write to Government calling for end to use of peat compost - The Wildlife Trusts

Environmental groups have come together to write a letter to the Environment Secretary calling for a ban on the use of peat in compost by 2025. Celebrity gardener, broadcaster and writer Monty Don has also signed, describing peat in compost as “environmental vandalism”. The call comes as the volume of peat sold in the UK in the last year tops two million cubic metres.

Environmental charities have been joined by broadcaster and writer Monty Don in writing an open letter to the government calling for a ban on peat in garden compost in the next five years after new figures showed it would take decades to phase out at the current rate1.

The National Trust, Friends of the Earth, the RSPB, The Royal Horticultural Society, Plantlife, CPRE, the countryside charity, The Wildlife Trusts, Garden Organic, and Wildlife and Countryside Link say that unless a legal ban is introduced then some of the world’s most precious and important ecosystems could be lost forever, and the government’s climate and nature aims will be undermined.

Monty Don has added his voice to the plight, describing the continued use of peat in compost as “environmental vandalism”.

Healthy peatlands act as carbon sinks, trapping in carbon to help mitigate the impacts of climate change. They also help to control flooding and encourage vegetation that can provide homes for an array of wildlife. But when they are damaged, such as mining for compost, they lose these abilities and emit their carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

New figures released in recent weeks show the rate of decrease in the retail and professional horticulture sectors is “small and slow”. They also show that a voluntary target to end its use in the amateur sector by 2020 has been completely missed, and that 2030 target to end its use in the professional sector is also on course to be missed.

Posted on: 25 November 2020

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