Peat policy

Updated on 1 October 2019

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Peatlands around the world hold twice as much carbon as the world’s forests while offering precious habitats for vital wildlife and plant species and preserving high-quality archaeological sites. But extraction, draining damage and other activities means that carbon stored by peatlands is being released. This equates to more than 5 per cent of all global human carbon emissions.

Much of the UK’s peatland has been damaged in the past by drainage, over-grazing, burning and extraction. Our University researchers and others are working hard to reverse these negative impacts and working with landscape managers in Scotland to restore sites to create resilient ecosystems, increasing carbon storage capacity and reducing emissions. But much of the peat found in the compost in the UK now comes from peatlands elsewhere in Europe. We have a responsibility to protect these precious habitats from the problems we've experienced.

The Botanic Garden and Grounds department is concerned about the use of peat in horticulture on wildlife habitats and the release of carbon into the atmosphere. We are supportive of the research being done to find viable alternatives and are actively reducing the volume of peat being used in the Botanic garden and Grounds.

By 2022, we will no longer be using peat in bagged products. To achieve this aim we only purchase peat-free alternatives in every range of growing media we use.

We will only promote peat-free compost in our events and public engagement.

Our staff are trained to support our customers to help them make informed choices and get the best results from growing peat free.

We actively encourage the use of non-peat products, such as manure and mulches, for general soil conditioning and planting.

We have long established composting on site to use as soil ameliorants, top dressing and mulches which has displaced peat for over 5 years.

We believe that protecting peatlands is one of the most important natural ways of healing climate harm. These special landscapes store carbon, control flooding and create homes for wildlife.


Kevin Frediani


Corporate information category Environmental sustainability