Take the Pledge to be Peat-Free and Proud!

Take the Pledge to be Peat-Free and Proud!

For decades, we’ve heard hundreds of empty promises to protect and restore our peatlands, but the sad fact is that our peatlands are still in danger and these precious areas are still being damaged today.  Humans have been relentlessly draining these rare habitats and ripping out the life and soul – the mosses, plants, life, and peat – from our peatlands for an unthinkable amount of time.  Many of these vital habitats have now been lost altogether, and at least 80% of our remaining peatlands are damaged and degraded.  Without the necessary protection and restoration, the condition of our peatlands continues to worsen every day.

Peatlands offer us immeasurable benefits.  These miraculous areas cover just three percent of Earth’s land-surface area, yet peatlands store more carbon than all our terrestrial plants combined.  Peatlands are naturally absorbent; these giant sponges slow the flow of water to protect us from flooding.  We’re losing our biodiversity at an alarming rate; peatlands are home to rare plants and other wildlife, many of which can only survive in these unique environments.

A healthy peatland planted with the correct species of mosses and peatland plants that enjoys optimum growing conditions can develop a one millimetre layer of peat over the course of a year.  If the optimum growing conditions and necessary water levels are not present then a peatland won’t produce any peat in a year.  Over a period of a thousand years, a healthy peatland can lay down a layer of peat that’s up to one metre thick.

This is Thursley National Nature Reserve – this important site is the remains of a once larger peatland and a site of special scientific interest, near Godalming, in Surrey.

Conservation Charities, Companies, Organisations, Scientists, Growers, Zoologists, Gardeners, Ecologists, Horticulturists, and Garden Designers team up to Release a Joint Statement to Urge the UK Government to Take Faster, More Effective Action to Ban the Retail Sale of Peat in Horticulture

I believe that the only place for peat is in a peat bog.  I am far from alone in my desire to save our remaining peatlands.  Today, key conservation organisations and charities, including the National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts, Plantlife, the RSPB, and other groups (please see all the charities and organisations below) have combined forces to release a joint statement, which you can read below:

Continuing to extract, import, export, and sell peat as a product is indefensible. We are pleased to see that the UK and Welsh Governments recognise the importance of keeping peat in the ground and are finally proposing a ban of peat in the retail sector. However, this is an urgent issue, and further delay until 2024 is unnecessary. UK Governments must act decisively and bring about a speedy end to the retail sale of peat for horticulture – there is no time to waste.

In going peat-free, the UK would benefit from securing a thriving, sustainable horticultural industry, that leads the way in the development of sustainable, peat-free growing media.

Peatlands are a rare type of wetland habitat that are home to fascinating plants and other wildlife, some of which can only be found in these precious environments. Peatlands cover just 3% of Earth’s land-surface but these extraordinary habitats hold twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. Every year, millions of cubic metres of peat are dug out of the ground to be sold in UK markets for horticulture; these destructive actions fly in the face of the nature and climate goals of UK Governments. Protecting peatlands is a vital step we must take to put nature into recovery and to bring about an end to needless and vast carbon dioxide emissions. Healthy peatlands have the power to reduce the impacts of flooding, help to filter our drinking water, and are important conservators of our cultural heritage. Peatlands are vital habitats that urgently need our protection.

This statement has been signed by…..

  • Barbican Wildlife Garden
  • Biodynamic Association UK
  • Buglife
  • Butterfly Conservation
  • Beaver Trust
  • Brian May’s Save Me Trust
  • British Dragonfly Society
  • British Society of Soil Science
  • Campaign for National Parks
  • Climate Explorers
  • Crichton Carbon Centre
  • Dig It Out
  • Environmental Justice Foundation
  • For Peat’s Sake
  • Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Froglife
  • Garden Organic
  • Gardening with Disabilities Trust
  • Greenpeace
  • Green Liberal Democrats
  • Gweebarra Conservation Group
  • Habitat Aid
  • Heeley City Farm
  • Incredible Edible Bristol
  • Incredible Edible Lambeth
  • Naturewatch Foundation
  • Peat Free April
  • Peat Free Cymru
  • People’s Trust for Endangered Species
  • Pennington Community Allotments
  • Perthshire Wildlife
  • Pinwheel
  • Plantlife
  • RE-PEAT
  • Rewilding Britain
  • Rotary World Savers
  • RSPB
  • Snowdonia Society
  • SongBird Survival
  • Stone Lane Gardens
  • Sustain
  • Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA)
  • The National Trust
  • The Pollinator Project
  • The Species Recovery Trust
  • The Wildlife Trusts
  • Wildlife and Countryside Link
  • Veterans’ Growth
  • Wild Card
  • Worcester Green Party
  • World Wildlife Fund For Nature (WWF)
  • Zero Carbon Yorkshire
  • ZSL (Zoological Society London)

It isn’t just charities, organisations, and groups that came together to sign this statement.  I am just one of over one hundred and sixty supporters from the horticultural industry, including gardeners, biologists, growers, scientists, nursery owners, naturalists, botanists, horticulturists, ecologists, campaigners, politicians, compost suppliers and specialists, that signed this joint statement to urge the UK Government to take faster, more effective action to protect our peatlands and end the retail sale of peat for horticulture.  I am so grateful to Alan Titchmarsh, Professor Dave Goulson, Iolo Williams, Caroline Lucas, Jenny Jones – Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, Mark Lane, Megan McCubbin, Tom Stuart-Smith, Gordon Buchanan, James Wong, Manoj Malde, Kate Bradbury, Ajay Tegala, Sarah Price, Joe Lycett, Charlotte Harris, Val Bourne, Jane Perrone, Brigit Strawbridge, Sarah Wilson, and everyone who came forward to stand up for our peatlands.  To read the statement and see the list of signatories in full, please click here to visit Peat Free April’s website.

Would your organisation like to sign the statement?  If you or your group, organisation, or company would like to sign, please email me, beth@pumpkinbeth.com.

I’m encouraging growers, retailers, and gardeners to go peat-free to protect peatlands, wildlife, nature, biodiversity, and ourselves. Let’s work together to share ideas and create a truly sustainable horticultural industry.

Write to your Local MP

Write to your local MP and ask them to do everything they can to protect our peatlands; urge them to ask for the use of peat in horticulture to be banned by 2023 and for significant investment in peatland restoration.  Find your local MP, by clicking here.  Tell your MP about the level of concern that environmental groups have on the government’s inactivity.  Send your MP a link to the joint statement on peat.

Pledge to Go Peat-Free!

It’s deeply disappointing that we are still waiting for the government to take solid, effective action and ban the use of peat in horticulture.  Why wait for a ban to come in?  Why not pledge to be peat-free and proud now – take Garden Organic’s Peat Free Pledge and go peat-free today!

Plug plants are often raised in peat.  I love to grow as many plants as possible from seed, so I can be certain that my plants have been grown in peat-free growing media during every stage of their life.

Peat-Free Inspiration & Successful Peat-Free Growers

If you’re a grower and you’re still using peat, you’ll find lots of helpful information and ideas in IUCN Peatlands’s Demonstrating Success in horticulture Booklet, here’s a link.

Ideas for Growers Who Are Still Using Peat

Sara Venn has written about her experience of turning a traditional nursery (that used peat) and her own herb nursery over to be peat-free nurseries.

The UK Government Peat Consultation is now open – this is your opportunity to tell the government to take action for nature.

The UK Peat Consultation Period

The UK Government has opened its Peat Consultation Period and is asking amateur gardeners, professional growers, and anyone interested in the environment to have their say and compete a questionnaire.   The Wildlife Trusts have an easy-to-use form on their website to help anyone interested in giving feedback to the government on this important issue.  Include a link to the Joint Statement on Peat in your responses.  Do hurry – the UK Peat Consultation Period ends on the 18th March 2022.

Peat Free April’s Responses to the UK Peat Consultation Questionnaire

To read Peat Free April’s responses to the Peat Consultation survey, please click here.

Support Charities and Organisations that Protect our Peatlands

Charities and organisations that care for and protect our peatlands, nature, and wildlife need our support.  Annual memberships and donations form precious lifelines for many conservation initiatives; please support them however you can.  The Wildlife Trusts, Plantlife, and the RSPB have all devoted a huge amount of their energy over the past few decades into protecting peatlands.

The Office for National Statistics estimates that fully restoring the UK’s degraded peatlands could cost between £8bn-£22bn over the next 100 years, but this action would save £109bn in terms of reduced carbon emissions and would have immeasurable benefits for nature, wildlife, and biodiversity.

Does your Local Garden Centre Sell Plants that are Raised Peat-Free?

Does your local garden centre or nursery sell plants that were raised in peat-free compost?  Do your local garden centres and nurseries sell a wide range of peat-free composts?  Garden Organic have created a simple letter template to help you email garden centres and nurseries and ask them to go peat-free.

Find Peat-Free Nurseries & Garden Centres

To find plants raised in peat-free growing media, check out Nic Wilson’s Peat Free Nurseries List.

Start Composting!

The most sustainable and environmentally-friendly compost is homemade.  Do you have a compost heap in your garden?  How about in your school, college, office, restaurant, or community?  It’s the perfect time to start composting!  Compost is wonderful stuff for gardeners but compost heaps are also very beneficial for wildlife and for the environment.  Discover more than 20 fabulous tips on how to compost successfully, in this article.

The Labelling on Compost Bags is Changing – Find Out About the Responsible Sourcing Scheme

The labelling on compost bags is changing; find out all about the Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media in this article.

More Articles about Peatlands

To see more articles I’ve written about peatlands, please click here.

Ailis Watt is the Peat Officer for the Wildlife Trusts; read Ailis’ Blog for the Wildlife Trusts – Enough is Enough – it’s time for a total ban on peat use in horticulture.

Dr Olly Watts is the Senior Policy Officer for the RSPB; read Dr Olly Watt’s blog – For Peat’s Sake Bring in a Ban.

To read an article I wrote for the Crichton Carbon Centre about the fascinating wildlife that depend on peatlands for their survival, please click here.

To see my Compost Trials, please click here.

More Info on Sustainable Living

To visit Rotary World Savers website, please click here.

For more articles about sustainable living, please click here.

Gardening Advice

For gardening advice for March, please click here.

For gardening advice for April, please click here.

For tips on magnificent trees for small gardens, please click here.

For more information on tree planting with tips for larger gardens and communities, please click here.

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