Irish supplier vows to end peat imports as task force plans first meeting

Bord na Mona has announced that it will not import peat from Ireland to the UK after the growing media is phased out from retail use in England in 2020.

Speaking at Glee, UK commercial manager Tommy Gill said B&Q supplier Bord na Mona's business was now less than half peat. "We're working to an agenda where we are moving to peat-free ahead of the market. We won't import peat into the UK post 2020 because it's not in the spirit of what we're trying to do," he said.

Bord na Mona is branching out into biomass power, green waste and nitrogen-rich spent Guinness grain.

At Glee, several industry figures confirmed their places on Alan Knight's peat task force, which first meets on 10 October to work out how to end peat use in England.

Confirmed members include Sinclair's Bernard Burns and John Tugman, HTA's Tim Briercliffe, Vital Earth's Steve Harper, Westland's Ed Conroy and Scotts' Martin Breddy. The final group of 30, split between retailers, manufacturers, NGOs and growers, will form three committees to look at products, profit and policy.

Breddy said at Glee that the 2020 target was feasible but the Government needed to recognise the costs. Scotts signed a letter to Defra this summer that suggested legislation was needed. Breddy added: "I don't think market forces alone would be sufficient to get us to 2020."

Scotts no longer supplies peat to professionals but Breddy said: "It is right the Government target is twice as far away as the consumer target because peat dilution poses more challenging issues for professionals. My interest is in ensuring a level playing field."

Sinclair retail managing director Danny Adamson said smaller peat suppliers may run out of peat in spring 2012 and he was holding some supplies back.

Harper said professionals were not stepping into peat-free as keenly as garden centres but enquiries were well up after Defra announced the 2020 target this summer.


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