"Help us ban peat sales": Wildlife Trust urges Lancastrians to help end "destructive" practice on our doorstep

Lancashire Wildlife Trust is calling on residents to help end the "unnecessary and destructive" practice of selling peat.

By Catherine Musgrove
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 3:45 pm

Defra has launched a long-awaited consultation into banning the retail sale of peat in horticulture in England and Wales, and Lancashire Wildlife Trust wants as many people to respond as possible.

The Trust has long been campaigning to protect peatlands, and is working to restore those that we have on our doorstep.

>>>Click here to learn about the work being done in the North West to restore peatland.

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Peatland at Winmarleigh Moss, near Garstang

A spokesman said: "We know that many of our members and supporters have been backing us in this fight, with more and more people going peat-free in their gardens. But now we can do even more.

"When the England Peat Plan was launched in May 2021, it promised a consultation into banning the retail sales of peat, and even though it took until December 18, 2021 for it to arrive, it’s finally here – and we can all do our bit."

>>>You can view and submit your responses to the consultation here.

The consultation includes questions that might not be relavent for amateur gardeners, but not every question has to be answered.

Why does peat matter?

Globally peatlands cover only about three per cent of land, but they store twice as much carbon as all of the world’s forest combined. And what’s more, when they are in a healthy condition, peatlands continue to absorb carbon from the atmosphere locking it away in their peaty soils for millennia.

However, as soon as peatlands are damaged in any way that carbon gets released, oxidising to form CO2, a harmful greenhouse gas, which is actually contributing to global heating. In fact, five per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from damaged peatlands – that’s more than shipping and aviation combined.

Peatlands also provide homes for lots ofl wildlife, helping address our biodiversity crisis, not to mention providing natural flood mitigation, drinking water filtration and reducing the risk of wildfires.

Yet, many of our peatlands are still being drained and dug up simply so that the peat can be used to fill cheap bags of compost and grow potted plants. The UK alone uses over 2 million m3 per year of peat in the horticultural industry.