For peat's sake... B&Q runs into trouble with new topsoil
Environmentalists accuse DIY chain of setting bad example with make-up of own-brand product
Tuesday 03 April 2012
Britain's leading DIY chain has been criticised for increasing the amount of peat – an unsustainable natural resource – in its own-brand topsoil.
B&Q's new Verve topsoil contains up to two-fifths of peat matter. Peat bogs, which take millions of years to develop, play a key role in protecting threatened wetland habitats around the world, sheltering many rare species. They also store large amounts of carbon. When peatland is drained for human use, this is released into the atmosphere as the harmful greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
B&Q is the country's largest retailer of growing mediums such as topsoil and compost, selling up to £5m worth of topsoil each year. Environmental groups have expressed their dismay at B&Q's new product, accusing the market leader of setting a poor example.
Britain is home to 13 per cent of Europe's peat habitat, and 38 per cent of commercially available peat in this country comes from UK peat bogs. While some areas are now protected, extraction continues to exhaust wetlands and release up to a million tons of carbon dioxide every year.
The Government aims to phase out the use of peat in gardens by 2020. However, incentives such as the Growing Media Initiative (GMI), of which B&Q is a member, have not dramatically reduced consumption, with nearly three million cubic litres of peat still used for horticulture every year.
Rob Shore, head of wetland conservation at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, said: "I'm disappointed by B&Q's stance on this. It's not what you would expect from a market leader."
Mr Shore said peat-using companies had "taken their foot off the gas". "The time frame has given a lot of groups more breathing space than they needed," he said.
GMI manager Tim Briercliffe said: "Peat in topsoil is not a sensible approach at this time. But three barriers – quality, availability and price – determine so many decisions."
B&Q's new topsoil is lighter and easier to transport than peat-free alternatives, such as coconut fibre and loam, which can also be more expensive.
The company said: "Our topsoil does contain a percentage of peat and we are completely transparent about that on the packaging."
Cow 'emissions' more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars
As Iraq runs dry, a plague of snakes is unleashed
Greenland’s dark snow may start global warming ‘feedback loop’
Cornwall hotter than California? British sea temperatures hit all-time high
Climate change march: Investors pledge to take their money out of firms blamed for climate change
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...
£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...
£38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...
£50000 - £60000 Per Annum + excellent company benefits: Clearwater People Solu...