Efforts by British campaigners to halt the unsustainable use of peat in horticulture have received international acclaim, just a few days after Environment Minister Michael Meacher reaffirmed the UK Government`s commitment to reducing peat use by 90% before 2010.
At a meeting of the International Mire Conservation Group (IMCG) in France on 21st July, the UK was commended for the impact of its campaign to persuade the public, industry and government to stop using peat. The IMCG applauded the role of major garden centres such as B&Q in raising awareness among gardeners. However, concerns were raised that the success of the campaign in the UK might simply encourage the peat industry to start digging peat from unprotected sites in other countries - particularly in Eastern Europe.
Peat is extracted from fragile peat bogs, a globally important habitat that is rapidly disappearing - Western Europe has lost more than 90% of its original peatland, most of it in the past few decades. At a recent conference in Britain, Mr Meacher said: "These areas have been likened to our rainforests so we must do all we can to encourage the public and industry to seek alternatives to peat in the form of renewable composts made from organic waste."
Patrick Wilson | alfa
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