Article Types News Help us ban the sale of peat in bagged compost in 2024

Help us ban the sale of peat in bagged compost in 2024


On the 16 April we have the last opportunity to lobby for the 2024 ban on the sale of peat in bagged compost for horticultural use by supporting a Ten Minute Rule Bill speech by England in Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet Theresa Villiers.

Peat-covered areas like the Peak District and Pennines are vital in locking in tonnes of carbon, improving water quality, reducing flood risk and providing a home for a diverse range of wildlife including endangered species of birds, as well as providing us with beautiful areas in which to hike and climb. A non-renewable resource, peat is not easily replaced, taking thousands of years to form (1mm per year) from partially decomposed plant material.

We need you!

Your support right now for this bill is vital because the government have not yet passed legislation to ban the sale of peat in bagged compost for horticultural use in England and Wales by 2024, despite announcing this aim on 27 August 2022.

In response to the 2024 ban announcement, many major gardening retailers and supermarkets have dutifully changed to peat-free alternatives over the last two years, including B&Q, Dobbies, Tesco and Kew Gardens. The RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) is 98% peat free, pledging to become fully peat-free by the end of 2025.

Ailis Watt, Peat Policy Officer at The Wildlife Trusts says, “The key thing to raise among members of public is that peat compost is not yet banned despite major retailers getting on board. We need this piece of legislation in order for ban. Without it there is a real risk of back-sliding; companies that made the change to peat-free in anticipation of the ban could reintroduce peat compost if the ban doesn’t actually come. The failure of the Government to deliver on this promise is really disappointing.

“It also penalises those businesses that made investments in peat-free alternatives and maybe had foregone profits in order to do the right thing. It sends the wrong message if the Government are not rewarding businesses for doing the right thing in line with their environmental promises and Net Zero Strategy. It disincentivises progress and innovation in much the same way as with the car manufacturers and e-vehicles when the date to ban fossil fuel cars and vans was delayed.

“There are some exemptions to this timeframe, for example the Government also stated the intention to ban the use of peat for technical uses including mushroom casings and plant plugs by 2030. This gives those industries more time to evolve their supply chains. However we want to see a ban on all peat compost as soon as possible.

"MP Theresa Villiers is expected to use her 10 minute speech to highlight the value of peatlands for nature and the climate, the merits of a ban, the commercial evidence that retailers are currently selling and growing perfectly well without peat, the existing Government commitment, the cross-party support and the widespread public approval for the ban. It would be an easy bill for them to push through."

Healthy, soaking wet peat bog reduces the chances of wildfires

Support the peat-compost ban now!

Post this news story on your social media to raise awareness, and on Twitter tag the Prime Minister @10DowningStreet, @RishiSunak and @GOVUK urging the Government to make the ban of bagged peat-compost a priority.

Email your MP asking them to attend Theresa Villiers’ speech on 16 April, support the bill and raise awareness of it.

Together we can make peat a priority!

Example social post:

Make peat-free compost a priority! @10DowningStreet @RishiSunak @GOVUK #peat #teambmc #moorsforthefuture #theclimateproject

Ailis Watt says, “This has slipped off the Government’s agenda and this is their final chance to deliver on their 2024 promise to the public. We need to do everything we can to put pressure on the Government and highlight the fact that the 2024 peat-compost ban is an existing commitment with widespread support. The Government need to take the opportunity that Theresa Villiers is giving them to find time to put bill through parliament.”

Make sure you’re buying peat-free

Ailis Watt says “Unless you see peat free plastered on the front and sides of the bag, assume the compost it contains peat. If the bag is peat-free it will be first text you see and easy to identify.

“Home composting is also a great alternative to using peat but not everyone has the time or space for this, but as long as you buy peat-free compost you don’t have to worry about it. Alternatives used include wood, bark, green waste collected from councils, and some original inventive peat-free manufacturers are also using sheep wool and bracken. There are blends of various different things and they all work just as well as peat.”

Volunteering opportunities

You can volunteer to plant sphagnum moss in the Peak District to help restore the peat bog moorland through a BMC Get Stuck In day. Find out more about volunteering opportunities with The Climate Project and Mend Our Mountains here.

So far amazing BMC members have donated over £30,000 to The Climate Project through the BMC’s Access & Conservation Trust charity. Just £25 buys enough sphagnum to plant 1m² of peat bog. If you want to help, donate here!