Government hopes to phase out peat compost

Garden and greenhouse enthusiasts could see peat-based compost phased out over the next decade.

Environment secretary Hilary Benn has proposed that the UK should move towards a situation where amateur growers cannot buy the soil improvement products.

He is concerned about the environmental effect of peat extraction in Britain, which is responsible for around 500,000 tonnes of CO2 being emitted each year.

The total carbon footprint from compost used by UK growers is likely to be double that figure as around half of the peat-based compost used here is imported from abroad.

Amateur gardeners are responsible for around 70 per cent of the peat-based compost used in the UK and Mr Benn wants to restrict their access to the products over the next ten years.

He proposed that garden and greenhouse fans should be educated about the alternatives and on the impact of peat extraction, which can also disrupt wildlife and lowland raised bog ecosystems.

Meanwhile, the Royal Horticultural Society recently revealed that a study into the UKs ponds found that a large majority are not reaching their potential in terms of hosting wildlife.