Hobby gardeners in England will no longer be able to buy peat compost from 2024, the government has announced.
It comes as part of £ 50 million Action plan Restore 35,000 acres of bog across the country.
The ban will also be rolled out gradually across the commercial sector over time, he added.
A decade ago, voluntary targets were set to bring peat sales to zero by 2020. The Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) now recognizes that the approach has not been successful.
She hopes the action plan – along with new commitments to triple tree planting and recover endangered or lost species – will help Britain meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.
What is moorland and why is it important?
Peatlands are England’s largest land-based carbon store.
They are also home to rare wildlife and can provide clean water and protect against flooding.
But only 13% of England’s 1.4 million hectares of moorland – from upland bogs to productive farmland – are in near natural condition. The rest is mined, drained, planted with trees or used as pasture land or agriculture.
When peatlands are extracted, carbon dioxide is released instead of being captured and stored.
Defra estimates that 10 million tons of CO2 are emitted from England’s degrading moors every year.
What other measures have been proposed to restore the bog?
Protecting and restoring bogs will not only include work on highland peat, but also “major changes” to the way lowland peat is managed, according to the action plan.
The government says financial incentives are being used to encourage farmers to rewet bogs in areas like the Pennines.
A new lowland peat task force has also been set up to investigate measures such as wet breeding or “paludiculture”, which involve growing crops that like to grow in moist soils.
It could be passed to curb emissions, manage water, maintain economic performance and extend the lifespan of bog soils that face limited agricultural life.
This could include growing sphagnum moss, a plant that can itself be used as a horticultural alternative to peat compost.
Other measures could include raising the water table when cropland does not grow crops to slow soil loss and reduce carbon emissions.
Some lowland areas can also be moved back into a more natural moorland area.
The Peat Action Plan also states that while there is a scientific debate on aspects of the environmental impact of controlled burning of peat to manage the land for capercaillie and prevent forest fires, the evidence is that it is harmful to peat as a whole.
As a result of the burning, more than 87,000 hectares of highland raised bog were transformed from a typical peat-forming habitat into a vegetation dominated by dwarf shrub.
This makes it difficult to get wet again and it is impossible to return to its natural state.
New rules banning unlicensed burning will protect approximately 142,000 acres of England’s highland peat from further damage from managed burning, accounting for approximately 40% of all raised bogs in England, the action plan says.
Defra also aims to develop a more detailed map of England’s moors by 2024.