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Trust director general Hilary McGrady joined sister organisations from 19 countries calling for the substance to be stopped in gardening and the horticultural trade. Peat covers three percent of the Earth’s surface and stores more carbon than all the world’s forests combined. But degraded peat releases huge quantities of greenhouse gases, accounting for more than five percent of all global carbon emissions.
On a visit to the Peatlands exhibit at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Ms McGrady said: “We are all taking action in our organisations to eliminate the use of peat in our gardens and through our supply chains. But we can’t end this practice alone.
“So today, I join a host of international National Trust organisations in calling on our members to make a positive choice for climate and for nature when shopping at garden centres and buy peat-free compost to use in their gardens and check whether plants they are buying are peat-free.
“It is through this sort of collective effort that we can unite in the fight against climate change. We also need government to step up and play their part by bringing in legislation that bans the sale of products containing peat.
“Peat is so important for carbon capture. For example, the Peak District’s peat absorbs the equivalent of all the carbon emitted by Sheffield. But degraded peat is emitting a significant amount of carbon.” Ms McGrady said peat is good for wildlife, boosts air and water quality, and also reduces the risk of flooding by soaking up heavy rainfall.
She said: “Here we have an easy win that would have the dual benefit of protecting one of our most important natural assets in the fight while creating homes for wildlife and, significantly reducing the amount of carbon dioxide we are pumping into the atmosphere.”
In May, the Government published the England Peat Action Plan, with a promise to consult this year on banning the sale of peat products to the public by 2024. It is also investing £7.5 million in the Great North Bog, a large-scale peatland restoration across a wide expanse of blanket bog in the north of England.
The Daily Express is helping fight climate change with our Green Britain Needs You campaign.
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