Major horticultural retailers have not stopped selling peat in compost, despite pressure from governments and activists.
The Wildlife Trust said only one of the 20 retailers contacted would remove peat from the shelves this year.
Flark restoration is an important part of the government’s strategy to mitigate the effects of climate change.
It is highly absorbent and helps prevent floods.
However, one peat producer told the BBC that interest in gardening has skyrocketed since the blockade. The demand for peat was “unprecedented” and there was currently no viable alternative.
About 10 years ago, the British government created a voluntary agreement for retailers to phase out the sale of peat.
Flarks are the “sinks” of carbon and help absorb carbon dioxide to combat human-induced climate change.
According to a Wildlife Trusts survey, many retailers offer peat-free compost, but only two have set dates to end peat sales. Travis Perkins plans to avoid using 100% peat this year. Wicks plans to phase out peat by 2025.
B & Q, Hillier, and the Garden Center’s Blue Diamond Group said they were working on a phasing out of peat, but did not disclose the date. Asda, Lidl and others have set goals to reduce sales, but haven’t done it yet.
When flark is drained and dug up, it releases carbon rather than absorbs it.
Craig Bennett, CEO of The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“The era of voluntary agreements is over. Peat sales must now end. Countless promises have been broken and goals have not been achieved. As a result, precious flark habitats are still in the name of gardening. It has been unnecessarily destroyed below.
“Only one of the leading retailers, Travis Perkins, plans to remove peat from the shelves by 2021, while producers like Hillier produce compost without peat and are of high quality. These retailers are blessed, but now they need it. The government will let the rest follow their lead. The time for delays and excuses is over. “
Suppliers say they are doing what they can to meet growing demand. Benmarin is the director of Godwinds Pete, a company based on Somerset Level.
It provides gardening centers, DIY outlets and professional growers in southern England and Midland with approximately 120,000 cubic meters of peat annually.
Marin said: “In the last 12 months, we have seen an absolute gradual change in gardening. With unprecedented demand for raw materials, peat is a very important part of our supply chain.
“We are moving towards peat reduction and aiming for peat-free at a pace that the industry can move forward, but most of the industry says that this sudden increase in demand is not at this time. Absolutely revealed to the people. It is possible to phase out the use of peat to meet market demand. “
He said one of the alternatives, a significant amount of wood chips, was directed to the subsidized biomass industry. This pushes up the price.
Another option is coir made from coconut shells. However, it has a very long and unreliable supply chain.
James Barnes, chairman of the Horticultural Trade Association (HTA), said the industry is in full favor of peat alternatives.
He commented: “Manufacturers are now producing more peat-free, peat-reduced growth media, and retailers are stocking and selling, but it’s unrealistic to immediately ban the use of peat. Access to the quantity and quality of alternative materials needed is not realistic. It is still in place. “
He said HTA has worked with other industry groups to propose ways to proceed with soon-to-be-publicized work, including “meaningful and realistic peat removal targets,” and organizations are governments, organizations, and supplies. He said he would like to work with the chain to provide something feasible. , Responsibly procured alternatives. “
Dr. Rebecca Alz is an expert on the flark ecosystem at the James Hutton Institute.
She said that 2 to 3 million cubic meters (about 8,000 hectares) of peat were collected for horticulture each year in the United Kingdom. A good deal of this goes to amateur gardeners.
She said volume can be likened to the size of an O2 building in London. More were imported from the Baltic States or the Republic of Ireland, thereby “offshoring our emissions”.
She believes it is important to find a way to protect the peatlands that are supplied with these quantities.
“Although only 3% of our land area on Earth is covered with flark, they are the largest carbon reservoirs we have. They grow very slowly since the last ice age and It only accumulates about 1 millimeter every 10 years. It’s very slow-it’s a growing resource and it’s very easy to lose it. “
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has recently promised to be completely “peat-free” by 2025, calling on gardeners across the UK to do the same.
Bord Na Mona, a partially state-owned company in Ireland founded to develop peatlands for the Irish economy, has also announced that it will officially end the harvest of all peat on the land.
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