How often do you spend thinking about the importance of the UK's peatlands? Probably the answer is never. You may think peatlands are a dark, bleak and boggy landscape of no real value but that's not the case. Project Maya are asking you to find out more about peat, its important role and join their campaign to save this vital habitat. Will you join designer and environmental activist Vivienne Westwood, naturalist and broadcaster Simon King OBE and BAFTA award winning television producer Stephen Moss in taking the Peat-free Pledge?
Why do we need to save our peatlands?
Take a look at these figures to see why this habitat is so vital to our lives:
- UK Peatlands store more carbon than the forests of the UK, France and Germany combined.
- Peat is being consumed 200 times faster than it forms.
- 94% of our lowland bogs in the UK have been lost.
- Every month, UK gardeners use enough peat to fill 69 Olympic swimming pools.
- Inspired by the research of Professor Mark Reed (Birmingham City University) Project Maya is asking gardeners to pledge to be peat-free in their gardens.
Peatlands are a vast green lung that provides unique places for recreation and habitats for some of our most threatened wildlife, whilst absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
[pullquote]Prof Reed, whose research on peatlands inspired the Peat-Free Pledge, said:
“For me, peatlands are a fascinating place to think about our relationship with nature. So many of us overlook peatlands as bleak, featureless and inhospitable places, without realising that we all depend on them for the water we drink and for regulating our global climate. Most of us don't even notice the internationally important species and habitats we're trudging through when we go hill walking.”[/pullquote]
Gardening and peat
Each month UK gardeners are using enough peat to fill the equivalent of 69 Olympic swimming pools. An average 100 litre bag of peat compost takes around 100 years to develop.
Peat is used in compost because it’s cheap, light, retains moisture and stores nutrients. But most amateur gardeners wouldn’t notice a difference if they switched to peat-free but it would make a significant difference to our peatlands. Already, the Government has set a target to phase out the use of peat by amateur gardeners in England by 2020. They are monitoring peat use and will be reviewing progress next year to see if “additional policy measures are necessary”.
UK gardeners make a significant contribution to improving the environment for nature, and by going peat-free you can do even more. Our peatlands are a beautiful and incredibly valuable resource. Let’s keep them and our gardens beautiful. For more information, and to take the pledge head to www.mayaproject.org/peat-free-pledge.
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Where to buy peat-free compost
- Peat-free compost is widely available so try your local garden centre
- Original Organics sell New Horizons Peat Free Multipurpose Compost which was Winner of Which Magazine Best Buy Compost!
- B&Q also sell some peat-free compost