Responding to the Scottish Government’s launch of its consultation on ending the sale of peat in Scotland, Fran Barnes, CEO of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) commented:
“The horticulture sector in Scotland and the rest of the UK supports the move away from peat. We will engage with this consultation on behalf of our members who have already made great strides in transitioning away from the use of peat; we are now at an historic low as a proportion of peat use for the industry (30% in bagged compost at retail and 51.7% in professional use). But trials have seen varying results, and progress won’t always be straightforward. We welcome the Scottish Government’s consultation on the matter, and the opportunity to set out the complexities involved in the use of peat as a growing media.
“In particular we welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to exploring possible exemptions to any ban. We would also emphasise the importance of ensuring legal consistency with the rest of the UK, to avoid internal markets becoming skewed.
“Any government considering legislation to ban peat use should ensure they are ready to support the horticultural sector to develop responsibly-sourced alternatives, which do not jeopardise the sustainability or price of the growing media, nor affect the quality of the crop produced. Facilitating research and development and knowledge exchange on best practice for growing peat-free is an absolutely essential part of this process. We need the Government’s support to ensure the transition away from peat enables Scotland’s horticulture sector to play its vital role in contributing to the country’s net-zero targets, while remaining competitive and sustainable as a business sector.
“As we have done in relation to the upcoming retail sales ban in England, we will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government on this matter and work with our members in Scotland to help them prepare for any potential peat ban.”