Monday, 30 May 2011

Peat Free Compost (Part 2) - The Actions

Having done a lot of digging regarding the issue of peat (a non-renewable resource) being used in soil improvers such as multi-purpose compost (see the first post here), BFTF wanted to make a small, practical difference to help improve the situation.

The first thing to do, of course, is to practice what you (are about to) preach - but since BFTF has been purchasing peat-free compost for several years, this seems to be a box that can be ticked off.

The next port of call is to raise awareness/provide a nudge to those who make policy. BFTF did this by:

a) Sending an email to DEFRA saying thank-you for the very comprehensive report they had written and to ask what the coalition was planning to do about the issue over this parliament.

b) Sending an email to Mrs Creagh MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs asking what the Labour Party Policy was in this area and what they aimed to achieve in this parliament.

c) Sending an email to the local Councillor who was the Portfolio Holder for Energy and Sustainability asking whether the local council was "peat-free" and, if not, what they were doing to achieve this status.

d) Sending an email to local mosques (such as BFTF has email addresses for) suggesting that this is a topic that is both in keeping with the ideal of Islam and also an issue where, critically, the Muslim Community can find common ground with wider society - and that they may wish to lobby on behalf of their congregations (ensuring that they keep their congregations informed) on this or a similar topic.

UPDATE : 27 June 2011
DEFRA : Responded saying that the results of the consultation were on the website. (They can be found here). The results have been incorporated into a White Paper "The Natural Choice" (can be found here). The key aims are :
Phase out for government and public sector by 2015 (currently 1% of peat market)
Voluntary phase out target of 2020 for amateur gardeners (currently 69% of peat market)
Voluntary phase out target of 2030 for commercial growers (currently 30% of peat market)
Task Force to be set up to advise on how best to overcome barriers to reducing peat use.
The long timescales for amateur gardeners and commercial growers are disappointing, particularly given that peat has only been used as a soil improver since the 1970's and that no levy is being put on peat to recognise its value in flood prevention, as a carbon store etc.

Local Council : They sent a very informative reply stating that they were trialling partly and fully peat free composts and aimed to meet the governments target of eliminating its use by 2015.

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