GMA challenges proposals for environmental peat tax

Growing Media Association (GMA) chairman Tim Briercliffe has criticised new peat tax proposals put forward by the RSPB.

In its report Financing Nature in an Age of Austerity, the RSPB suggested funding nature conservation through "environmental taxes" on peat, fertiliser and pesticides.

Briercliffe said: "The RSPB makes selective reference to Defra's peat monitoring project, but no mention of the separate Defra reports into the availability of alternative products and the costs of peat reduction to the industry. The transition would patently not be smooth if you take those reports into account."

He said the report failed to identify where alternative products would come from, adding: "The introduction of a peat tax would do little more than increase costs for manufacturers and consumers at a time when we should be looking to stimulate the economy."

RSPB sustainable development policy officer Olly Watts, who sits on the GMA, said: "The idea of a peat tax has been around for a long time and Defra has been considering fiscal measures.

"We all know that we are in a time of austerity and nature conservation funding is going to be cut, so we are trying to help the Government find ways to help this."

The report emerged in the same week that industry representatives met with Defra minister Richard Benyon to discuss the speed that peat reduction could be achieved.

Briercliffe said: "It was encouraging to hear the minister wanting to find out about the challenges presented by peat reduction. He was pleased by our approach and has agreed to give serious consideration to the industry's concerns."

Horticultural Development Company chairman Neil Bragg said: "The meeting provided a useful opportunity to detail some of the real financial and technical challenges that growers face."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next



The range of colours and flowering times makes for cheerful and economic displays, Miranda Kimberley reports.

Pitches - seeds and consumables

Pitches - seeds and consumables

The right seeding and inputs are essential for keeping grass in top condition and ensuring that pitches look and perform at their best, says Sally Drury.



Customers do not often know about the different leaf colours and shapes offered by hollies, Miranda Kimberley reports.

Opinion... Standardisation good for the trade

Opinion... Standardisation good for the trade

Horticulture could benefit from streamlining in the supply chain.

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Blue Planet II eloquently showed the rich tapestry of life in the oceans. It also focused public awareness on plastic pollution damaging wildlife.

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

British horticultural firms and organisations have not been the best at working together to promote our industry.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 60 Ornamentals nurseries

See our exclusive ranking of ornamentals nurseries by annual turnover. 

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles