The government has today announced the timeframe for banning all peat-based gardening products.

Following news that bagged peat composts will be banned from 2024, Defra has confirmed that some peat-containing products will be banned from shelves from 2026, but others will be exempt from the ban until 2030.

Today's announcement allows some professional growers to continue to use peat to grow plants and mushrooms.

Ailis Watt, peat policy officer at The Wildlife Trust said: “Today’s announcement is bitterly disappointing. Last year we welcomed the news that the UK Government would ban the sale of bagged peat compost in England by the end of 2024. The Wildlife Trusts hoped that a ban on all peat products would follow shortly after this date."

The Wildlife Trust estimate that policy failure to stop peat extraction has caused up to 31 million tonnes of CO2 to be released since 1990.

HTA Chairman James Barnes commented that the 2026 date for the start of a phased ban had caused concern in the horticulture industry, saying: "The Government’s original ambition was for England to be peat free by 2030. Although challenging, this date was accepted as creating the time to have a workable transition away from peat."

"This is why the announcement that the ban will come into effect four years earlier at the end of 2026, even with phased exemptions, has caused widespread concern and alarm amongst professional users and growers. There are already plants, trees and crops in the ground now intended for sale after that date. More than halving the trial seasons available to achieve a successful transition is hugely disappointing and will be a blow to many businesses who are already facing economic and trading pressures."

Read more on why peat use should be banned in gardening products.


Daisy Bowie-Sell is digital editor of Gardens Illustrated. She has previously worked as a journalist for publications including the Daily Telegraph, WhatsOnStage and Time Out London