Peat ban brought forward will have negative environmental and economic impacts according to new Defra evidence

by | Aug 28, 2023 | News, Product News | 0 comments

Defra research shows early peat ban would have detrimental effects

Data released last week by the HTA shows clear consequences that accelerating a ban from 2030 to 2026 on UK tree and plant growers using peat will have significant environmental and economic impacts. The reduced timescale will more than halve the number of growing seasons to complete extensive trialling to changes in crop production techniques leading to counterproductive outcomes contrary to the Government’s Environmental Improvement Plan.

HTA members’ insights already show that a fast-tracked peat ban could lead to a shortage of 100 million plants and trees immediately following the ban’s enforcement. This scarcity will have knock-on effects on green spaces, gardens, and streets across the UK, impacting the country’s natural landscapes. Furthermore, one in three suppliers to amenity customers, including public green spaces, expect disruptions or withdrawals from supply agreements and contracts. Garden centres also anticipate gaps in product availability by 2027.

Now, an economic study commissioned by the HTA from independent economists at Oxford Economics indicates that expediting the ban to 2026 would lead to a staggering £541 million reduction in Gross Value Added (GVA) and a £124 million decline in tax revenues. Moreover, it could potentially result in the loss of 12,000 jobs.

This news comes as we approach the one-year mark since the Government published the response to the consultation on peat sales for horticultural use.

Explaining the findings

James Barnes, Chairman of the HTA, representing garden centres, nurseries, landscapers and manufacturers, explains the key findings:

“The HTA is advocating for a rational and balanced course rather than a delay. This fresh economic analysis, coupled with our impact assessment, reinstates what we have already been saying: a rushed timetable for a ban on the UK’s professional tree and plant growers will result in a worse economic and environmental outcome than maintaining the original proposed date of 2030.

“It is clear that the environmental loss far outweighs the carbon savings benefit of advancing the peat removal timeline to 2026. The study underscores the need for a balanced and measured approach to ensure optimal environmental outcomes without penalising an industry already committed to transitioning from peat.

“While peat use in bagged compost for individual gardens has significantly decreased to 16.8% and is on course to be completely phased out by the end of 2024, the transition for professional nurseries producing a wide array of trees and plants is more intricate. An exemption for all UK tree and plant growers from the peat ban until 2030 would allow sufficient time for necessary trials, seamless transitions to peat-free alternatives, and proper consideration of imports without compromising plant and tree health. Our members are already well on the journey, successfully reducing the professional use of peat to below 50% volume of previous levels and on a clear steep downward trajectory.  

“The complexities of finding suitable peat-free alternatives for different plants and crops, with varying irrigation methods and nutrient strategies required, is not to be underestimated. Quality and consistency also remain barriers, further exacerbated by incentives for energy companies for biomass energy generation, which puts pressure on supplies of wood-based materials available for growing media.”

View the HTA dedicated Peat pages here

more latest news ➡

12,000 lost apprenticeship positions in retail

12,000 lost apprenticeship places in retail

Retailers could have offered 12,000 more apprenticeships over the past year if it was not for the Government’s failure to reform the Apprenticeship Levy, according to a survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The industry took on approximately 17,000...

GIMA awards 2023

Just four weeks until the GIMA Awards 2023

The garden retail sector is abuzz as the GIMA Awards are set to return in just four weeks!  Taking place at the Celtic Manor resort in Newport, South Wales, the event will once again be a hotbed of celebration and networking, with 17 coveted awards up for grabs. ...

QR Code use in retail

The Rise of the QR Code 

From occasional use to becoming part of our daily lives over the last two years, the QR could continue to prove useful to retailers. For some companies, the pandemic was arguably a gamechanger. A number of technologies which had previously been overlooked then shot...

Read GCR's latest edition!

Subscribe ToThe Wednesday Word

Subscribe To
The Wednesday Word


Get all the latest news, events & more straight to your inbox every Wednesday.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This