Klasmann-Deilmann researcher argues that total peat phase out will harm horticulture

Gerald Schmilewski of German growing-media manufacturer Klasmann-Deilmann has criticised Defra's peat phase-out proposals, saying they will destroy the horticulture industry.

Speaking out at the recent stakeholder meeting held in Warwick, he said: "Defra should pick up the industry's concerns and see that they say this is not feasible, unless the growing media and horticulture industries are willing to destroy themselves.

"It's also the policy of the EU to improve the quality of plants and foods and if these alternative materials are bringing a higher risk, why should we support them? The Government should be the leader, not the industry."

He said the focus should be on quality, availability and prices and the 100 per cent phase-out approach was wrong because peat was needed as a "vehicle" for the use of alternative materials.

He added: "Peat is the best overall material and has revolutionised the horticulture industry - I tell you, if you want to go peat-free by 2030 you can do it, but you will phase out the growing-media industry and you will phase out horticulture."

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