Chapter 10.2.3 Peatlands

Ban horticultural peat extraction and sale

Ban commercial peat extraction for horticulture and the sale of peat for horticultural use.

UK Govt
Scottish Govt
Local Authorities
Emissions reduction
Behaviour change

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of peatlands and is funding restoration to help reduce emissions yet at the same time commercial extraction of peat continues. The Scottish Government has consulted on ending commercial peat sales256 and SCCS supports the proposals to phase out the sale (and use) of peat for horticulture. The government has also written to local authorities to ensure that they are aware of and exercise their powers in relation to the review of old mineral permissions and that it is actively seeking to get a comprehensive understanding of the location and scale of existing planning permissions for peat extraction.

Encouraging a voluntary move away from peat use in horticulture has failed, so there is a need to go further, faster. SCCS calls on the government to implement a phase out as speedily as possible, and before the end of 2024 at the latest.

A simple ban on peat extraction in Scotland could result in import substitution from Ireland or elsewhere. Consequently, a ban on the sale of peat would also be required.

Coordination with the other countries in the UK would, of course, be necessary but there are already proposals for bans in both England and Wales. The Committee on Climate Change — the government’s own advisory body — has called for this measure.

For further information:

Version 1.0: September 2023

The contents of this document will be updated on a regular basis.