A survey by the RSPB wildlife charity has shown that only half of the celebrity gardeners questioned use peat free compost exclusively. This is despite clear evidence that extracting peat from the soil leads to carbon dioxide emissions and damages the environment which it comes from. It can also be harmful to wildlife.
Figures from the RSPB show that peat compost is responsible for 630,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, which is the same as 300,000 extra cars on UK roads.
The 27 gardeners who were questioned included Alys Fowler from Gardener's World who does not use peat. She commented that a government levy on peat products would make a huge difference to sales. She also suggests that gardeners need to be educated on the benefits of peat free compost.
Meanwhile Alan Titchmarsh has been criticised after he revealed that he uses peat compost for his seedlings and agreed with the other peat using gardeners in the survey that the lack of available alternatives was a key factor in their decision. He points out that he uses very little and along with his colleagues, has cut back on the amount used significantly.
Olly Watts of the RSPB has suggested that the government introduce a non-voluntary approach such as a levy to offer a financial incentive for those gardeners who want to switch. This may also encourage the industry to create better alternatives.
Two thirds of those questioned said they agree with the phasing out of peat products.