Friends of the Earth wades into peat debate

Peat sales in garden centres is under attack from head of Friends of the Earth (FOE) England Paul de Zylva.

De Zylva said: "Peat is not a dynamic, sustainable 21st-century business."

"Gardening is not a sustainable use of the resource. Peat is more useful as a habitat and a means to deal with the big global challenges of climate change."

"Digging up, burning and using peat in gardening is not consistent with the more important uses, particularly where alternatives exist. But peat is tried and tested and old habits die hard."

De Zylva's comments come as Westland runs a trip for journalists to County Westmeath bogs and its Irish factory today and the Growing Media Initiative (GMI) holds it first big meeting (tomorrow, 12 November).

FOE has not campaigned against peat use for several years but the HTA's assertion  that industry will not meet its 2010 target of a 90% reduction in use, announced this week, has brought the issue of the impact of peat and its use on the environment to the fore again.

Meanwhile, Westland's trip took 14 journalists to Irish peat bogs and the company's Dungannon factory. Westland is also part of the HTA's GMI, which will meet tomorrow ahead of the Garden Retail Awards to discuss strategies for staged peat reduction in garden centres.

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