Views sought on proposed peat ban

VIEWS are being sought, concerning Scottish Government plans to ban the use of peat.

Says the Scottish Government, here, of a consultation operating between now and May: “The intention is to ban the retail sale of peat for home gardening first, before considering how a wider ban would affect commercial users [such as whisky producers].”

Says the consultation document (the consultation ending on May 12), here: “Scotland’s peatlands have a critical role to play in responding to the twin crises of the global climate emergency and loss of biodiversity. 

“In good condition, peatlands are a significant natural carbon store. They hold around 1.8 billion tonnes of carbon, equivalent to around 145 years’ worth of Scotland’s total net carbon emissions.

“Covering about a third of our country, peatlands support important ecosystems and biodiversity, improve water quality and reduce flood risk.

“However, when degraded or in poor condition, these benefits are lost and peatlands become a net source of carbon emissions. This is why the Scottish Government is dedicated to protecting and restoring our precious peatlands, supporting a Just Transition to Net Zero by 2045.

“In 2020, we set out ambitious plans to invest more than £250 million to restore at least 250,000 hectares of degraded peatlands by 2030, scaling up our restoration efforts which [had] already seen over 30,000 hectares of peatland restored since 2012.”

It concludes: “In Scotland, a small area of peatland (1,000-2,000 hectares from a total peatland area of over two million hectares across the country) is used for commercial peat extraction. Most is used for horticulture, a small amount for fuel and around one per cent is used in the malting process of whisky production.”

Pictured: Peat-free garden compost, Picture credit: Place Design Scotland