Peat is not in short supply and its extraction need not harm the environment if carefully managed, claims a shock report.

UK gardeners still have an appetite for peat

The International Peat Society (IPS) in Finland, says there are 400million hectares of peatland on Earth – but just 2,000 square kilometres is used globally to make compost.

In contrast, 300,000km2 has been used worldwide for farming, 150,000km2 for forestry and 2,000km2 for energy generation.

While blame is pointed at gardeners for peat bog destruction, the IPS found 120,000km2 of bogs had been drained in tropical regions for oil palm and paper-pulp production.

The IPS has launched a global strategy for peat management. President Donal Clarke said: “The aims are to ensure that high conservation value peatlands are identified and conserved, utilised peatlands are managed responsibly, and drained  peat bogs are rehabilitated.”

Editor of garden trade website Landscape Juice, Philip Voice, said: “I’ve never been convinced that use of peat in horticultural products has ever had a significant impact on the world’s environment.

“And if I was even the slightest bit worried, after reading the IPS report on their global strategy for responsible peatland management, I’m not the slightest bit worried now.”

An AG reader from Ireland telephoned to say: “I am sick of the UK government making a fuss about peat. Politicians should come to Ireland and see how much peat is burnt in power stations.”