Scottish government launches consultation to phase out peat

Gardeners, commercial growers and compost suppliers in Scotland are among those being asked for their views about peat use.
Peat free planting
Garden Organic has long called for a ban on peat use in Scotland as part of our For Peat’s Sake campaign

Scottish ministers have launched a new consultation on peat use, as part of plans to ban sales of peat in the country.

Responses to the same consultation in England were 95 per cent in favour of ending peat sales for gardeners – with the ban coming into force in 2024. In England, a commercial use ban announcement has been delayed but could happen in 2028 or 2030.

Garden Organic has long called for a ban on peat use in Scotland as part of our For Peat’s Sake campaign. The Scottish Government’s investment in peatland restoration has been undermined by continued peat extraction and use in horticulture.

In 2021, Scotland supplied around 300K cubic metres of peat used in UK horticulture or exported. This represents 16 per cent of the total, with 22 per cent originating elsewhere in the UK, and 62 per cent coming from other countries.

Responses to the consultation will inform plans and timescales for moving away from using peat products to protect peatlands from further damage. Under the plans, retail sales of peat for home gardening will be phased out first, before consideration is given to a wider ban for commercial users.

Environment Minister Mairi McAllan said: “Peatlands are an integral part of our cultural and natural heritage and cover over a third of Scotland’s land area. Restoring them can help us fight climate change, support biodiversity and provide good, green jobs – often in rural communities.

“Hand in hand with our efforts to restore degraded peatlands, we must also do all we can to protect them. This means we must consider how to stop using peat, whether extracted in Scotland or elsewhere. We welcome a wide range of views to this consultation to ensure that we can set dates for ending the sale of peat that are both realistic and ambitious.”

The consultation is open until May 12, to take part click here.