To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the level of research and development needed to assess replacing peat in use in the ornamental horticulture industry.
21 March 2022
We have always been clear of the need to end the use of peat and peat containing products in horticulture in England and Wales. A voluntary target was set in 2011 to stop using peat in the amateur sector by 2020. While some progress was made, this target has not been met, which is why we are consulting on measures to end the use of peat and peat containing products, including a ban on the sale of peat in the retail sector by the end of this Parliament. Alongside our consultation we have published our assessment on the impact of our proposed measures, which can be found here.
We continue to support the industry in their efforts to go peat free, this support has included, over £1 million on a project to provide the necessary applied science to help underpin the development and management of alternative growing media. We are co-funding monitoring with the horticultural industry of the composition of growing media (including peat) supplied for amateur and professional use in the horticultural market.
We have worked with the horticulture industry to develop a Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media, which allows manufacturers and retailers to make informed choices of growing media inputs to peat free products, based on environmental and social impacts.
Forestry England has committed to end the purchase of peat-based growing media by the end of this Parliament, well in advance of the rest of the professional sector. In order to achieve this ambitious commitment, Forestry England is continuing to lead the way, actively testing and trialling the use of non-peat growing media alternatives and aiming to provide the wider sector with confidence in these alternatives. This is crucial to supporting these emerging products and supporting the phase out of peat from the wider industry as a whole.