Peat Extraction & Horticulture

Image: Peat extraction site © Emma Goodyer

Peat Extraction & Horticulture

Commercial peat extraction occurs mainly on raised bogs to provide peat for gardening. The mechanised peat removal has a major ecological impact, stripping away the living layer and subsequently exposing large quantities of peat to oxidation and loss of carbon. Neighbouring areas of bog within the same hydrological unit can become degraded as a result of the drastically lowered water table. Currently, nearly three million cubic metres of peat are sold for horticultural use every year in the UK, one third of which comes from UK peatlands. The main users are amateur gardeners (66%), followed by industry (34%) and a small percentage by local authorities (<1%) (Defra 2010). Most peat use in the UK can readily be replaced by more sustainable alternatives. The growing media industry has developed high quality products often using composted green wastes which are now widely used.

The IUCN UK Peatland Programme is working with a number of partners, including UK and devolved governments to investigate the restrictions around peat extraction and site restoration, as well as supporting research and policy to support the development of sustainable, peat-free alternatives.

For more information:


Cors Caron Copywrite Drew Buckley Photography
Conference 2022 - Registration openRegistration for this year's IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference taking place live in Aberystwyth…
Mar Estate © Mark Nicolson
100 Project Milestone for the Peatland CodeThe Peatland Code now has 100 projects registered under the UK La
Peatland Code version 1.2
New version of the Peatland Code launchedAn update to the Peatland Code, including a separate guidance document, is now available.
IUCN UK Peatland Programme Newsletter: Winter Edition 2022
IUCN UK Peatland Programme Newsletter: Winter Edition 2022Read the latest IUCN UK Peatland Programme newsletter.
Peat-free image
Peat-free Horticulture – A reality and an opportunityWe have reached a key moment for bringing about a transition in the way we garden and supply…
PC Projects Feb 22
An update on the Peatland CodeThe Peatland Code continues to grow rapidly with 79 projects now registered and 10,300 ha of…
The new CNPA Peatland ACTION team
Unlocking contractor capacity to lock up carbon in the CairngormsThe Cairngorms National Park Authority’s (CNPA) Peatland ACTION Officers have facilitated over 2,…
Moors for the Future Partnership: Cleaner water video
Moors for the Future Partnership presents: Blanket bogs are worth protecting video seriesMoors for the Future Partnership has developed five videos to help people understand the multiple…
Restoration works at East Gill in Nidderdale
Yorkshire Peat Partnership celebrates another successful yearAs Yorkshire Peat Partnership (YPP) heads into the new restoration season, they take a moment to…
The Peatlands of Britain and Ireland: World Wetlands Day
World Wetlands Day 2022: 'The Peatlands of Britain and Ireland' launched as e-bookTo celebrate World Wetlands Day 2022, 'The Peatlands of Britain and Ireland' by the IUCN UK…
South West Peatland Partnership vacancies
South West Peatland Partnership job vacanciesThe South West Peatland Partnership (Exeter, Devon) have 8 job vacancies available to support their…