Please Show Your Support: Sign & Share this Petition to Protect Peatlands in Scotland & Further Afield

Peatlands are a unique type of wetland.  These ancient, wet, and boggy areas of our countryside bestow many blessings and privileges on us, yet peatlands are the unsung heroes of our landscape.  So many of us are unaware of the priceless ways that peatlands enrich our lives and protect us.

Peatlands benefit us by:

• Peatlands filter water to help provide us with good quality, clean drinking water.
• The sphagnum mosses that grow in peatlands can absorb over twenty times their dry weight in water – isn’t that amazing?  When heavy rain falls, our spongy, absorbent peatlands slow the flow of water to protect us from flooding.
• The fascinating plants that grow in our peatlands are often rare as they are only found in the acid conditions found in these unique wetlands.  Growing alongside mosses, peatland plants include: carnivorous plants, bog orchids, rare sedges, cranberry, bog rosemary, purple moor-grass, cloud berry, cotton grasses, rushes, cowberry, crowberry, bog asphodel, and more.
• Peatlands are vital habitats for wildlife, including: butterflies and moths, dragonflies and damselflies, crickets, spiders, frogs, toads, newts, lizards, slow worms, adders, birds, and more.  Like peatland plants, much of the wildlife that live in our peatlands are unable to survive away from this habitat.  Many peatland species are rare or endangered; as we have now lost vast areas of species-rich habitat – we have lost such a high proportion of our peatlands.  80% of our remaining peatlands are in a damaged and degraded state and need urgent restoration.
• Peatland mosses and plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air to protect us from climate change.
• Healthy peatlands will safely store vast quantities of carbon; locking the carbon up and storing it indefinitely within the wet and boggy peatland.
• Peatlands cover just 3% of our planet’s land surface, yet they store more than twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests.
• In fact, our planet’s peatlands store more carbon than all the plants that grow on Planet Earth’s land combined!
• Peatlands are havens for us to visit for relaxation.  Peatlands are sanctuaries where we can unwind and reconnect with nature.
• Peatlands are comprised of layers of faded peatland plants which hold our historic records of environmental changes over the centuries, including details of the plants that grew in the peatland and plants that were growing within the peatland’s locality centuries before.
• Peatlands offer us a window into our past; within the oxygen-free peatland, our ancestors’ objects and artefacts, including those made of wood and natural materials can survive preserved for millennia.

Horticultural Peat Use is Tiny and Insignificant … Isn’t It?

No. Those who want to continue using peat in our gardens often justify continued peat use by saying that horticultural peat use is so small that it is insignificant and not a problem, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Much of the peat that’s excavated in the UK comes from lowland raised peat bogs, these are the rarest type of peatland.  A number of the finest remaining lowland peat bogs left on our planet are actually found in the UK, but these incredibly rare habitats have become fragmented and degraded due to pro-longed and continued excavations, leaving far fewer opportunities for the fascinating plants and wildlife that live in these areas to flourish and connect.  We should be celebrating, restoring, and protecting these areas, not coming up with excuses to destroy them!

Peat use is not sustainable at any level, as peat forms so slowly and takes hundreds and thousands of years to form.

Once a peatland has been dug up to make compost we lose the peatland mosses, plants, and fungi that had evolved over hundreds of years (or longer) and were perfectly adapted to growing in the conditions found in the peatland.  We also lose the peatland’s insects, invertebrates, amphibians, birds, and more.

Over a period of 1000 years, a healthy peatland can produce a layer of peat that is up to a maximum of 1m in depth

If a healthy peatland that benefits from optimum water levels and is covered with flourishing sphagnum mosses and other peatland plants, over the course of a year, a new layer of peat that’s up to one millimetre deep will form.  Inevitably there will be periods of time where the peatland is exposed to less than ideal conditions and no new peat will form during the year.  In optimum conditions, after a period of a thousand years a healthy peatland will form a layer of peat that reaches up to a maximum of one meter in depth.

This petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to place a legal ban on the extraction of peat, as well as peat imports, exports, and sales, in order to protect peatlands both in Scotland and worldwide.  Please note, you do not have to live in Scotland to sign this petition.

We Must Protect the Natural Beauty of Scotland and Protect Scottish Peatlands

Scottish peatlands are carpeted with colourful sphagnum mosses which envelop them in a tapestry of woolly textures, painted in tones of green, red, orange, and yellow.  When we visit a peatland, we can discover rare and fascinating plants and wildlife; many species that live in our peatlands can only survive in these rare and unique habitats.  Once a peatland is dug up we lose the rare plants, fungi, butterflies and moths, dragonflies, and other wildlife that lived here.  Many species that are associated with peatlands are rare and endangered and urgently need their habitats to be restored and protected.

Please Sign The Scottish Petition to Ban the Use of Peat in Horticulture

Please sign petition PE1945: Ban the extraction and use of peat for horticulture and all growing media by 2023.  This petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to place a legal ban on the extraction of peat, peat imports, exports, and sales in order to protect peatlands both in Scotland and worldwide.  Please note, you do not have to live in Scotland to sign this petition.

Protecting peatlands are vital in addressing the climate and nature emergency.  Peatlands store vast amounts of carbon, reduce flooding and support unique biodiversity.  The Scottish Government’s investment in peatland restoration is undermined by continued peat extraction and use of peat in horticulture.  Decades of voluntary measures have failed.  A legal ban on horticultural peat imports and sales is urgently needed.  We welcome the Government’s pledge to ‘ban the sale of peat related gardening products’ but ask that this is reinforced by a 2023 deadline.  Peat-free compost materials include: green waste, coir, typha, bark, wood, wool, bracken, comfrey, manure.  A ban on peat by 2023 will help Scotland benefit from the economic opportunities open to sustainable industries.

Please sign and share this petition, here’s a link.  When sharing a link to the petition, please remind your friends, family, and followers that supporters do not have to live in Scotland to sign this petition.

NB: This petition is collecting signatures until Monday 8th August 2022 – so please sign it and share it today!

For more information about peatlands, please click here.

For more questions and answers about peat, please click here.

To read my response to the open letter about peat, please click here.

For gardening advice for July, please click here.

For gardening advice for August, please click here.

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