Growers fear disadvantage from move to end peat use

A Defra consultation outlining plans to phase out the commercial use of peat by 2030 has sparked concerns that UK growers could be left at a commercial disadvantage.

The coalition Government has backed the previous administration's proposals to ban the use of peat in the amateur market by 2020 and has set a new target for commercial growers and producers to follow suit by 2030.

Industry bodies have voiced concerns over the consultation, which stated that the UK had "very limited legal ground" to ban the import of plants grown in peat and questioned what support would be available to help the transition to peat-free.

NFU horticultural adviser Dr Chris Hartfield said: "It would be wholly unacceptable to continue to allow the import of plants potted in peat, or indeed any products grown in peat media, if UK growers were banned from using it.

"It's vital for us to ensure that any policy does not place UK growers in an unfair position compared to their competitors abroad."

He criticised the consultation for failing to address who will foot the bill for phasing out the use of peat in professional horticulture, which is estimated to be worth £385m.

HTA policy manager Gary Scroby said: "We think it's achievable but it's going to be more difficult for commercial growers and there has to be an EU level playing field.

"There needs to be sufficient research and development put into commercial materials - we will need support."

Growing-media supplier William Sinclair's professional manager John Tugman agreed: "The thing that concerns me most is that presumably the proposals mean that growers based in the UK won't be able to grow plants in peat, but what does that mean in terms of competing with imported plants from the continent?

"The 2030 deadline is an achievable target and it will be commercially viable but if it doesn't apply to continental growers that won't be the case. We are involved in the consultation and we will continue to raise this issue."

A Defra representative said the consultation proposed a "voluntary partnership approach" to the phasing out of peat and said it "does not propose Government funding and support for product research".


- Phase out peat use in local authorities and Government bodies by 2015 and carry out a subsequent comprehensive review of progress.

- Phase out peat use in the amateur market by 2020.

- Phase out peat use by commercial growers and producers by 2030.

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