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Celebrities and MPs push for the government to ban the sale of peat compost to gardeners

MPs and celebrities have urged ministers to bring forward a ban on the sale of peat compost to gardeners.

Former environment secretary Theresa Villiers called for the substance to be outlawed by 2024 to restore peatlands, which are the UK's largest carbon sink.

She proposed a Private Members' Bill yesterday which she said was intended to fulfil a promise made by the Government in 2022.

Her proposals won the backing of environmental campaigners and celebrities worried about the impact peat extraction has on peatlands.

Introducing the Horticultural Peat (Prohibition of Sale) Bill yesterday, Ms Villiers claimed the UK's peatlands contained 'more carbon than the forests of the UK, France and Germany combined'.

However, she said less than 20 per cent of British peatlands are in a near-natural state, with over-grazing and agricultural drainage among the contributing reasons.

Ms Villiers said her Bill was focused on preventing peat extraction for horticulture, telling MPs: 'Extraction degrades the state of the wider landscape, damaging wildlife habitats and reducing peat's capacity to prevent flooding and field water.

'And of course extraction means that stored carbon is released, contributing to climate change.

'This Bill would implement the 2022 commitment made by this Government to prohibit the use of peat products in amateur gardening in England by the end of this year.' The Bill is set to be considered again by MPs on April 26, but is unlikely to become law without the support of the Government.

As well as carbon capture and storage, peatlands provide habitat to some of the UK's most threatened and rare wildlife.


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