Defra’s proposed ban on the retail sales of peat in horticulture could help save peatlands for the climate

Sustain has voiced support for this ban and is calling on others to do so.

Peatlands play a vital role in carbon sequestration, although they account for approximately 3% of the land but contains approximately 44% of the earth’s carbon.

12% land in the UK is peatland; they store more carbon than the UK emits in a year, they provide 25% drinking water, reduce the risk of flooding and provide habitats for species. However, nearly 80% of UK peatlands are degraded.

70% of peat sold in the UK is used for horticulture, it has been suggested that switching to a peat-free alternative could 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

In January 2020, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) called for the government to ban the extraction and sale of peat by 2023 but progress has been slow.