manchester foe logo

Government’s 2020 peat-free target way off track

news release

Friends of the Earth is calling on ministers to act after new figures revealed that the horticultural industry was way off track for meeting a government target of stopping peat use by amateur gardeners by 2020.

The new Growing Media Monitor report, published today, shows that between 2015 and 2019 the amount of peat contained in growing media – the material that plants grow in – only reduced from almost 53% to 41.5% in the consumer sector. 

In 2010 the government announced its aim to end peat use in domestic gardens by 2020 [1].

Paul de Zylva of Friends of the Earth said: 

“Despite the government pledge to end peat sales to amateur gardeners by 2020 it’s still being stacked high and sold cheap in most garden centres and DIY stores across the UK. 

“Peatlands are vital for supporting wildlife, holding back flood waters and storing carbon. The government must do far more to protect them. 

“The latest figures show the horticulture sector is dragging its feet in ending peat-use – at this rate it will take them many years to go peat-free.”

Today, is also the first anniversary of a government commitment to ban burning on peatlands. A group of England’s leading environmental organisations is today calling on the government to do the right thing for people and nature by making good on its repeated promise to ban the practice of deliberate burning on the nation’s valuable peatlands [see note 2]. 

Paul de Zylva added:

“Letting the nation’s unique peatlands go up in smoke is senseless and makes it harder for ministers to hit their pledges to restore nature, cut flood risk and store carbon to stave off dangerous climate breakdown. 

“Whatever ministers have been told by lobbyists, burning peatlands has no place in credible nature conservation practice. It’s time to ban the burn and invest properly in peatland restoration.”


For more information contact the Friends of the Earth press office on 020 7566 1649 / 07718 394786 (out of hours – please do not text this number) or by emailing 

Notes to editors: 

1. In December 2010 the government issued a press release to announce the voluntary phase out of peat use by 2020:
2. One year on from saying they would ban burning on peatlands, the government is still prevaricating (coalition press release – issued under embargo for 00:01 hours, 28 October 2020):
3. Friends of the Earth is an international community dedicated to the protection of the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. We bring together more than two million people in 75 countries, combining people power all over the world to transform local actions into global impact. For more information visit: follow us at @friends_earth, or like our Facebook

Find us on


Support Us

Donate or join us using a standing order or PayPal.

Twitter @foemcr