Time to give up peat, expert says

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, River Cottage head gardener Mark Diacono suggested that peat has been incredibly generous over the years as a natural climate regulator and plant fertiliser.

However, its continued use by domestic gardeners – who account for two-thirds of demand – is having a hugely detrimental effect on the environment.

“Important landscapes, habitats and archaeological sites are being destroyed and more than 630,000 tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere each year,” he explained.

Mr Diacono went on to point out that growing plants without peat is straightforward, citing the National Trust, the Royal Horticultural Society and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew as organisations that manage perfectly well without it.

Peat-free composts usually include one or more of green waste, woody by-products and coir, all of which are waste materials from industry and have very low carbon footprints as a result, the specialist added