National Trust axes peat-free bags

Poor sales force withdrawal of peat alternative

The National Trust has withdrawn peat-free compost from its shops because of poor sales. National Trust press officer Philippa Nuttall said the Petersfield Growing Mediums-produced compost has been withdrawn “because it didn’t meet financial targets… we didn’t sell enough bags”. She added: “New trials are being conducted and we hope it will be replaced with something else. The trust continues to urge gardeners to use peat-free compost.” Leicester-based compost producer Petersfield won the contract to manufacture the conservation charity’s peat-free compost under licence in 2001 but, because of difficult market conditions for more expensive peat-free composts, it gave up making it a month ago. The company remains under contract to the trust. The product was sold at trust plant centres at £4.49 for 40 litres. Company spokesman Neil Williams said: “Petersfield and National Trust Enterprises have recently taken the commercial decision to withdraw this product, but Petersfield continues to supply many of the trust’s gardens and nurseries. “We have products in trial that look very interesting. Some have lower density, which could help the price by lowering transport costs. It was an interesting experiment that got lots of publicity, but it hasn’t worked out as we hoped.” The trust unveiled the wood fibre-based compost at the Chelsea flower show in 2001, when National Trust gardens adviser Jim Marshall said: “There would be little point in visitors buying plants grown in peat-free compost at our plant centres and then potting them up at home using peat. Amateur gardeners consume almost two thirds of the peat used in horticulture, so just think of the difference we could make if everyone decided to garden peat-free.”

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