A new Defra campaign is urging gardeners to go peat-free when they buy compost and "play their part in the fight against climate change".
Defra used TV gardener Diarmuid Gavin to front the campaign.
Gavin appears in a video about the benefits of using peat-free compost when planting.
He said: "Consumers' concern about what they can personally do to help protect the environment is at a record high. However, people often struggle to find easy ways to make a big difference. Using peat-free products in the home and garden is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways that people can make a positive environmental impact and reduce their carbon footprint.
"For most uses in the garden (e.g. pots, growbags, hanging baskets, digging into or tidying up flowerbeds) peat-free alternatives are just as good as peat-based compost, and they don't lead to the loss of our valuable peat bogs. We hope that this campaign will prove to gardeners that you can have blooming good results - not just with traditional growing media but also with environmental friendly peat-free products."
Defra secretary Hilary Benn said: ‘Most people are unaware that peat has such a significant environmental impact. With high quality alternative composts on the market these days, there is no reason for gardeners not to ‘go peat free' and still enjoy a beautiful garden.'
Recent HTA data shows two-thirds of garden owners are unaware of the environmental issues surrounding peat.
Defra says the equivalent of around half a million tonnes of carbon dioxide is emitted each year as a result of peat extraction from UK sites for horticultural use. Three million cubic metres of peat is extracted for horticultural use, with amateur gardeners using 70%.
For more see HW 12 March