Peat mining draws to a close in Cumbrian bog
1 June 2010
Leading compost manufacturer William Sinclair has agreed to phase out mining from a Cumbrian peat bog in return for an initial payment of £9million in government compensation.
William Sinclair will pull out of Bolton Fell Moss over the next three years under the terms of an agreement struck with Natural England. The site is one of the largest lowland raised peat bogs in the country and although most of the area is designated an SSSI, peat has been commercially extracted from the bog for use in garden composts since 1959.
As part of the agreement the company will also continue working towards restoring the bog and returning it to a natural habitat.
It is the third time Natural England have bought out peat extraction rights: previous agreements include the buyout of Scott UK's rights to take peat from Wedholme Flow in Cumbria, Thorne Moor in North Humberside and Hatfield Moor in South Yorkshire. The government is keen to reduce the use of peat in garden composts as mining it 'unlocks' the carbon absorbed by peat and also ruins a unique natural habitat.
William Sinclair is also the manufacturer of the leading peat-free compost brand, New Horizon, and it reports sales of the compost rose by 44% last year. The compost recently out-performed peat-based brands in annual trials held by Gardening Which? By comparison William Sinclair's peat-based composts showed just 1% growth in sales.