Minister Noonan publishes report on the review of the use of Peat Moss in the Horticultural Industry
Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform published a report on the review of the use of Peat Moss in the Horticultural Industry. The review report was prepared by an inter-agency working group following on from the submissions received in response to the publication of an Issues Paper on the review.
The Minister stated “As set out in the review report there are significant positives and negatives arising from ending the use of peat moss in the Horticultural Industry. There are difficult choices to be made – from how we garden as individuals to the economic and cultural impacts arising from any significant changes. Therefore, I propose to establish a working group to include representatives from relevant Government Departments and State Agencies, Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations and industry stakeholders under an independent chairperson to examine the issues which have been identified during the review and, in particular,
- Eliminating the use of peat moss in the amateur gardening sector in order to leave what remains in use for the industry sector to buy time to develop alternatives, enabling food security and to provide industry surety.
- Graduating the elimination of the use of peat moss in the Horticultural Industry over an agreed period of years with an agreed end date.
- Finance and support for those workers whose skills cannot be accommodated in proposed alternative industries.
- Investment in further research into the development, education and use of alternatives to peat moss, such as bark, wood fibre, coir, biosolids, bracken and green compost, perlite, vermiculite, rockwool, and horticultural clay and in new methods of farming such as Paludiculture and Sphagnum farming.
- Up-skilling the existing workforce to regenerate the existing bogs for use in Paludiculture, Eco-Tourism, Carbon Farming, and Tree Farming as appropriate to optimise environmental outcomes.
- Quantifying the value of the existing viable peat lands as carbon sinks and then determine a carbon market to incentivise owners and operators of peat lands to preserve, rewet or restore their assets.
- Educating the public to the benefits of what would be proposed to include the climate and environmental benefits, the economic, social, cultural and public health benefits.”
Minister Noonan thanked the members of the inter-agency working group for their work in completing the review and all those who had made submissions on the Issues Paper.