>>>actions at garden centres

Targetting the garden centres which buy Scotts peat products, and the individual consumers, can be done all over the country and gives plenty of scope for creative and/or disruptive actions.

Certain large chains claim to be phasing out stocking peat products.

B & Q say that they will be peat free by 2006. Over that time they are going to gradually decrease the peat content of their own brand products, while they have cancelled their orders for all Scotts branded peat products

At the time of writing (December 2001) Homebase are expected to come up with a policy soon, also aimed at gradually phasing out peat products.

Focus/Do It All, which has taken over Wickes and Great Mills, has made statements that "peat has no long term future in our business". They have committed to making a policy by easter 2002 regarding phasing out peat, but in the meantime they still sell Scotts products.

Wyevale Garden Centres are the largest garden-centre-only chain in the country. This is what their environmental policy says about peat:

"Wyevale is actively working with compost and plant suppliers on tests relating to the availability and use of peat-free growing media and will closely monitor the results of these tests.

It is our intention to promote peat-free compost alternative products wherever possible and these competitively priced products are currently available from all Wyevale centres. We will not recommend the use of peat as a mulch or soil conditioner.

We have informed our suppliers that we shall offer only peat-free compost, and plants grown in peat-free growing media, as soon as it is practicably possible to do so. In the meantime, we will only deal with those suppliers of peat-based products who guarantee to comply with good practice with regard to restoration at the end of extraction, to undertake no extraction which would affect as yet untouched areas, and to permanently set aside areas that are as yet untouched. We will encourage and give preference to those suppliers who are able to move most rapidly in providing peat-free alternatives."

Tha above companies all have policies that they will not use peat which has been extracted from Sites of Special Scientific Interest. This means when they buy Scotts Miracle-Gro, it is processed at Hatfield, but from peat imported from Irish bogs - destroying Irish nature instead. Scotts also produce Miracle-Gro with Hatfield Moor peat, and sell it to retailers who do not have such a policy.

Supermarkets are also large sellers of peat products, and although it is known that several of them are considering policies regarding peat phase out, none have actually got them yet.

In short, all the major chains are making some progress towards phasing out peat. Of course, it is only B & Q that have actually done something about it, and so there is no reason not to pay the others a visit. But also remember that independent garden centres comprise a large percentage of the Scotts market and most of them have made no commitment to stop selling peat.

You can find a directory of garden centres and nurseries at http://www.martex.co.uk/horticulture

A sample letter to write to garden centres is here

>>>Let us know what you get up to at info@peatalert.org.uk