Industry chief laments 'crap' peat-free composts

Compost producer William Sinclair chief executive Bernard Burns has complained that other members of the growing media industry are giving it a bad reputation by selling "crap" peat-free composts.

Sinclair reported revenue of £21.8m, reflecting a slightly late start to the main selling season this year, and operating profit of £0.44m. Burns said not buying in peat had led to the increased profit, along with a 44 per cent increase in sales of peat-free New Horizon.

But he added: "The difference between a good and bad peat-free compost is so big you can drive a coach and horses between them. The industry is doing itself a disservice by continuing to sell crap peat-free. Just look at the results."

He said in five years "growers have gone from using completely peat to being willing to consider it".

He added: "If the Government is serious about stopping the use of peat in horticulture it is going to have to ban it." But he said there was no "compelling argument" yet that meant peat should be banned.

On 21 June Sinclair will launch a low-salt, lightweight, green compost made from a new process using amenity recycling plants' clippings that were previously, at more than 10mm, too big to use.

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