The use of peat in horticulture is a complex issue and one that has significant consequences for the present and future outlook of the industry. Peat has been used by the industry for decades it has unique nutritional and moisture retention qualities for use as a growing media for flora of all kinds. Some plant types and species require peat and others will not perform well without the substance.

The industry recognises the carbon absorption qualities of peatlands and as such has undertaken to transition to a peat-free future. Led by the HTA, the industry is now at an historic low of peat-use. However, to be able to fully achieve this aspiration, R&D trials must be carried out on the 1000’s of plant types and species to ensure peat-free mixes will produce flora at the quality and quantity required to meet market demands and environmental targets. Having enough time to develop these new growing media is essential to the health of the industry and everything that it contributes to.

Defra had initially indicated a 2030 peat ban date for professional growers, but has since changed the intended date to 2026 – this is deeply damaging to the prospects of horticulture businesses across the UK. Many indicate they will need to downsize, will be limited in what they can grow or even close their business. Moreover, a ban on imports from countries still using peat will see a significant market contraction, a rise in costs and empty shelves in garden centres.

We urge key-decision makers across the UK to understand the genuine timeframes required and support horticulture businesses with R&D funding to fully transition away from using peat.

What has the HTA done

  • Established the crucial principle of exemptions and longer time period allowed for tree and plant growers
  • Conducted extensive research and evaluation of alternatives to peat and co-produced the growing media monitor – qualifying peat use reduction in UK Horticulture
  • Helped to establish a responsible sourcing scheme
  • Knowledge exchange and workshops for members on developing new growing media mixes
  • Voice of the industry to ensure HTA member voices are heard and experiences explained to key-decision makers.

HTA key asks of the UK & Scottish Governments

1. To deliver on a 2030 professional ban by:

  • review and full impact assessment of the ‘2026’ professional ban date intention
  • ensure all UK tree and plant growers are exempt from the peat ban until 2030, allowing enough seasonal trials to professionalise peat-free mixes

2. To ensure the transition away from peat keeps Britain’s horticulture and gardening industry globally competitive and on a level playing field with other horticultural markets and reflects the reality of our sector as one with significant global trading relationships in plants and plant products.

3. To provide increased R&D grant funding to conduct trials, access alternatives, and develop new peat-free supply chains.

Important Proposed Dates

  • End of 2024: ban on the sale of bagged peat-containing compost to amateur gardeners


  • 2026: ban on the professional use of peat with limited exemptions (specific exemptions tbc)


  • 2030: ban on all professional use of peat for horticulture

Peat Related Documentation

Peat Briefing for Stakeholders

This briefing has been created for stakeholders to outline the HTA's position on peat and our key asks for the Government

HTA Member Letter Template On Peat March 2023

HTA members are encouraged to contact their local MP now that Defra have verbally confirmed their deeply concerning peat ban policy. This template has been produced to support members to do this.

HTA Case Study Template

HTA’s work to represent its members from across the sector, and to address the key issues impacting them, is growing, and HTA prides itself on evidence-based and informed communications (media, government) and policy positions.

Peat News

Further Peat Information

Growing Media and Peat - Training and Information