B&Q promises peat-free topsoil launch

Chain pledges to introduce peat-free alternative to its own-brand topsoil product after row over peat content.

B&Q's own-brand topsoil sourced from Scotts was introduced across the chain's stores in spring - image: HW
B&Q's own-brand topsoil sourced from Scotts was introduced across the chain's stores in spring - image: HW

B&Q is working on a peat-free alternative to its controversial Verve own-brand topsoil product, which contains 39 per cent peat and which launched this spring.

The announcement that the peat-free product will be in store this summer follows criticism from members of Defra's Sustainable Growing Media Task Force concerning the introduction of B&Q's Verve topsoil (HW, 23 March). The Verve product was sourced from Scotts.

The introduction of the Verve topsoil containing peat raised eyebrows because of the chain's position on the task force and as a signatory to the Growing Media Initiative.

The issue aired on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours last week after national newspapers picked it up. Speaking on the show, Chris Beardshaw said it was wrong that any topsoil contained peat. "For someone of B&Q's stature to be leading and sitting on various committees and be in a situation of using peat where it can most easily be substituted - there's no need for it to be used," he added.

A B&Q representative said: "Our topsoil does contain a percentage of peat and we are completely transparent about that on the packaging and encourage other retailers to be transparent too. We are working on a peat-free alternative with our suppliers and we hope to have that in store this summer.

"Our long-term ambition remains to replace peat in our offer through developing better peat-free formulations at the same price and increasing the percentage of peat alternatives in our overall volumes. This figure rose to 56.3 per cent in December."

Industry view

Steve Harper, managing director, Vital Earth

"We use green waste in our topsoil and it works well. There's no price issue. I'm surprised that peat appeared in B&Q topsoil."

Chris Beardshaw, television gardener

"Peat is a highly unusual product to find in topsoil. There is no need for peat to be incorporated in what is sold as topsoil."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Xylella host plants losing favour

Xylella host plants losing favour

Garden centres are withdrawing from selling plants that host Xylella, even when they are available from Xylella-free areas.

Sisyrinchium

Sisyrinchium

This huge but slightly odd genus offers multiple choices for the rock garden or alpine house, says Miranda Kimberley.

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Raised levels of investment in horticulture education and increased student take-up is welcome news for the industry, says Rachel Anderson.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES

Our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. 

Garden Centre Prices

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles

Neville Stein

Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation
 

Read latest articles