At the suggestion of one of our members we launched a project to promote the use of peat-free compost in the village.
Despite decades of campaigning Defra has still not banned the use of peat in horticultural compost despite their original intentions to do so by 2020. Peat-based compost will now not be phased out until 2030.
Peatlands are important wildlife ecosystems and they sequester carbon over the long term more effectively than trees. Many peat bogs have been completely destroyed by commercial peat extraction and raised bogs in particular in England are now rare. Peatlands deserve protection and it’s in all our interests to protect them. We shouldn’t wait until 2030!
One problem is that peat-free alternatives are often more expensive than ones that contain peat, but costs can be substantially reduced by buying in bulk. Consequently we took orders from our members and were able to bulk buy bags of the mulching compost Lakeland Gold and sell them for approximately 75% of the normal retail price.
Altogether 215 bags were ordered for over 50 members in the village. Bags were delivered to Rick and Gill Battarbee’s house to be collected. The system worked very simply so there is a plan to repeat the exercise in spring next year when seed composts will be in demand.
Plastic tree guards
A further environmental issue being tackled is the scourge of redundant plastic tree guards. Plastic guards are usually used at planting time to protect saplings from grazing by, for example, rabbits and deer. Once the trees have become established the guards should be removed. Unfortunately often they aren’t! Many of the trees planted in the village, some over thirty years ago, still have the remains of the guards, broken and brittle, clinging to them.
Volunteers have now removed almost all the guards from Bracken Ghyll Golf Course and are planning to remove many more from other locations in the village including from more recently planted woodland on the Moorside.
Sadly much of the very dirty plastic from the old guards has had to be binned but the newer tubes can be re-used or if necessary re-cycled.
If anyone knows of trees where there are old guards that need removing or would like to re-use any of the tube guards that have been stored please contact Rick Battarbee at firstname.lastname@example.org.