P6 – Policy solutions
Project P6: What is the role of public policy (England, UK, and EU) in facilitating the move to sustainable growing media? – with project P2 focusing on the role of public policy in the protection of peat bogs (decoupled from the use of peat in horticulture), this project is focusing on the role of public policy in facilitating the move to sustainable growing media and where public policy can be used to unblock identified barriers.
The aim is to examine both areas where policy intervention is required to achieve the aims of sustainable growing media and where public policy can be used to unblock identified barriers. The project also aims to examine alternative approaches to the voluntary approach adopted by the Natural Environment White Paper (as requested by some Task Force members) and what Government should be doing to take forward action at the EU level.
Project Lead: Judith Stuart (Defra)
Dependencies: P1 – need to ensure it is focused on addressing the correct environmental issue. P4 – need to ensure that it is focused on addressing the correct sustainability criteria and does not lead to negative unintended consequences.
Key questions (identified so far):
- What contribution can public policy make to help the transition to peat alternatives?
- How can public policy be used to unblock identified barriers?
- What opportunities exist at the EU level and what action should Government be doing to take this forward?
A few subprojects have already been identified and more may arise:
- P6b: Delivering peat alternatives within the waste regime
- P6c: Improving confidence in the use of green compost
- P6d: The role of public policy in achieving the 2015 Public Sector target
There is no significant progress to report to date (although more progress has been made on various subprojects). We have been reflecting on the direction this project should take in light of the progress in other projects and the developing narrative coming from the Task Force. For example, is exploration of a non-voluntary approach still relevant in the context of the proposed ‘promise’ outlined in Project P4? We have yet to consider these issues in detail (or come to a consensus view) but the questions that need to be addressed are (i) whether a non-voluntary approach fits with the narrative and direction of the Task Force’s work; (ii) what are the potential opportunities that are available to influence EU action in relation to the promotion of sustainable growing media (using a range of different policy interests) and (iii) how can policy help unblock specific barriers identified in other projects.
Defra has commissioned research to develop a method to assess, quantify and independently verify the peat content of products on sale. Further details are available on the project webpage.