Minister replies to peat warning

A vegetable plant propagator who threatened to take the Government to court if it phases out peat use in England has had a response from minister for the natural environment and fisheries Richard Benyon.

He contacted head of Lincolnshire-based Westhorpe Flowers & Plants Roger White to reassure him that no official decision had been made.

White told Grower: "We have certainly rattled the Government. Benyon assured me that nothing official has been decided on and that by 2030 there will be alternatives to peat."

As reported in Grower last week, White warned the prime minister that the withdrawal of peat would cripple his business and cost him £80,000 a year.

Plant Propagators, of which White is a member, is compiling a detailed response to the Defra consultation, emphasising peat's importance to propagators. Its reply is one of many being compiled around England by growers in the edible and ornamental sectors.

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