Community / Peat consultation not about ending cutting for domestic use, government says

Photo: Shetland News

THE SCOTTISH Government has reiterated that a recent consultation carried out on ending the sale of peat does not extend to the cutting and use of peat for domestic heating.

Responding to the consultation, the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) warned against the government widening the scope of its plans to ban the sale of peat to include the traditional use of peat for domestic heating use.

It has also encouraged the government to dedicate financial resources to explore the viability of sustainable, alternative heating sources in crofting communities in the Highlands and Islands.

However, the government has reaffirmed that it has only been consulting on ending the sale of peat.

A number of representations were received from Shetland regarding the plans, which the government says would help to protect peatland and support the move to net zero.

This is because peatland, when in good condition, can store carbon. When degraded it becomes a net source of emissions – leading to a push to restore peatland.


The Scottish Government has pledged to develop policy on banning the sale of peat-related gardening products, as part of its wider commitment to phase out the use of peat in horticulture.

The SCF said cutting peat for domestic use has minimal “fuel miles” and is carefully done with the environment in mind.

It added in its consultation response: “SCF opposes an expansion of the scope of this consultation to include traditional use of peat for heating.

“Unless significant investment is made by Scottish Government to explore alternative heating sources, specifically in the crofting/Highlands and Islands context, this would exacerbate fuel poverty.”

Yell Community Council said in response to the consultation that it does not support the end of peat selling.

Some local residents also got in touch with the consultation to stress the importance of peat cutting for personal use.

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A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are mindful of the needs of crofters and islanders who have relied on peat for fuel for generations.

“This consultation was not about the cutting and use of peat but about ending its sale.

“The responses of those who rely on peat, in addition to our impact assessments, will help us determine whether and how they might be affected by ending the sale of peat.”

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