Peat-use target could be split between garden centres and growers

Peat-reduction targets are likely to be split between retailers and growers after the HTA met Defra minister Huw Irranca-Davies last week.

The meeting comes ahead of a Defra-led stakeholder gathering at RHS Horticultural Halls on 11 November, where the Government is likely to announce a "split target" so consumers rather than growers are hit by biggest restrictions on what peat they can buy.

David Gwyther and Tim Briercliffe from the HTA, along with Martin Breddy, chairman of HTA specialist group the Growing Media Association (GMA), met with Huw Irranca-Davies and officials to discuss progress on peat reduction in the run up to 2010 and the looming 90 per cent peat-reduction target. 

The HTA said Irranca-Davies "applauded the work" of the HTA's Growing Media Initiative (GMI), which has brought together stakeholders to look at peat reduction. 

The HTA said ongoing reduction can be achieved through the GMI scheme and through communication to consumers at the point of sale.

Huw Irranca-Davies welcomed the recent GMA initiative to begin labelling bags.

He said future reduction targets are likely to be tied in with broader government climate-change targets. 

The HTA added that Defra will be "actively promoting peat reduction in 2010 but, importantly, will be involving the industry in the development and execution of any campaign".

Breddy said:  "We were delighted by the positive and constructive nature of the meeting, which paves the way for a closer working relationship between industry and government on tackling peat reduction over a sensible timescale. This dialogue has been greatly helped by the integration of the Growing Media Association within the HTA, which has ensured the peat issue is addressed within the wider context of UK horticulture. We now need to keep focused and ensure that the agreed collaboration with government leads to the right results for the industry."

See more in HW, 13 November.


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