Trusts urge faster transition to peat alternatives

Two anti-peat-use events are targeting gardeners as bad users of the growing media.

The Wildlife Trust's International Bog Day, held earlier this week, spread the message that "garden soil can be enriched without devastation to magical wild places".

Meanwhile, next month's Cumbria Wildlife Trust's Festival of the Solway Mosses (9-16 August) "underlines the wonders of habitats that will be lost if extraction isn't curtailed extensively".

Wildlife Trust campaign officer Alistair Harris said: "Slowly but surely there's been a reduction. But it's not quick enough for the negative impact that peat use is having."

He recommended peat-free composts from B&Q, Focus DIY, Tesco, Wickes, Marks & Spencer and Homebase, although a Wildlife Trust study has found all the stores sell plants grown in peat.

Looking at peat use, Westland research has found:

  • - There are 400 million hectares of peatlands worldwide;
  • - The earth generates 100m tonnes of peat per annum;
  • - European peatlands cover 95.7 million hectares;
  • - 350,000ha of peat is extracted annually in Europe, 5,000ha of which is extracted in the UK.

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