Survey finds retailers are not phasing out peat

Green Party report accuses garden centres of failing to curtail peat sales

Garden centres have hit back at a highly critical report that claims they have failed to act to phase out sales of peat. The report, issued by the London Green Party and Friends of the Earth, suggests that garden centres are paying “lip service to protecting endangered peat bogs”. The performance of garden centres in working towards government targets has been significantly worse than multiples such as B&Q and Tesco. Wyevale Garden Centres had the lowest score of any supplier. It had no plans to meet targets, no policies on peat-free growbags and no staff training on the use of peat. Notcutts failed to return the questionnaire. However, garden centres claim that the survey was “biased”. A Garden Centre Association representative said: “This is scarcely scientific. The researchers spoke to just two suppliers. Most of our members have a highly responsible attitude and are doing their best to protect the environment.” Wyevale chief executive Bob Hewitt said: “We are astounded by the claims that we support the irresponsible use of peat. Wyevale’s policy on peat is clear — we actively support and promote the use of peat-free products in our centres.” Notcutts representative Sally Reed said the survey was “unfair”: “No one was aware we were sent a questionnaire. All our plants are grown in media that is 40 per cent non-peat. We’ve been unable to get large enough quantities of growing media to replace peat entirely, but we’re looking at alternatives.”

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