ARCHIVE: Peat and peat alternatives
Peat is a major constituent of much horticultural growing media. It is well suited to a wide range of plant species and growing regimes, and is used particularly in the production of ornamental plants as well as fruit and vegetable seedlings and container-grown stock.
Dig with peat-free compost
The government's ACT ON CO2 campaign is encouraging gardeners to use peat-free compost for truly green gardening. Peat takes thousands of years to form, which means neither the CO2 it releases, nor the habitat it damages when extracted, will be readily replaced. Read more...
Under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (Lowland Raised Bog Habitat), the Government is committed to facilitate research and development into sustainable alternatives to peat and to encourage the development and marketing of peat alternatives. The aim of the Plan is for 40% of the total market requirements to be peat free by 2005 and 90% by 2010. The Plan can be viewed on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) web site.
The ADAS/Envirowise report published by Defra in 2006, showed that 66% of peat used in 2005 was used by amateur gardeners, and commercial horticulture accounting for the remainder.It has been estimated that the horticulture industry accounts for about one-third (much of it imported) of all the peat used as growing medium in this country, with the remaining two-thirds used almost entirely by amateur gardeners. The report also shows that the 40% peat-free target in 2005 was met.
Defra’s Soils Policy Team is running a peat project to work with industry and other stakeholders to further develop our work in this area.
Page last modified:
08 March 2010
Page published: 10 March 2005