25 Mar 1999
Environment and conservation groups from the UK, the US and around the world, have today called upon The Scotts Company of Marysville, Ohio, to stop destroying some of the UK's most important wildlife habitats. The organisations, which together represent over 10.5 million people worldwide, have been joined in their call by local communities living near the peatland sites. They fear that jobs as well as wildlife may be threatened if Scotts continues with its destructive activities.
The 72 environment and conservation organisations have published
an open letter to Charles M. Berger, Chairman, President and Chief Executive
Officer for Scotts, in which they attack the company on its environmental
record. The list of endorsing organisations includes some of the world's
largest and most respected conservation organisations, such as Sierra
Club, The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF UK), Defenders of Wildlife,
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), The Humane Society
of the United States(HSUS), Earth Island Institute, and Friends of the
Britain's lowland raised peatlands are amongst the most important
wildlife habitats in the UK, and have been described by Prince Charles
as the UK's tropical rainforests because of the wide
range of species they support. These include extraordinary plants such
as the round-leaved sundew (a carnivorous plant), thousands of insects,
and impressive populations of wild birds.
Some key peatlands are being severely damaged by Scotts, who remove the peat and sell it as multi-purpose compost. The company's major sites in the UK - Thorne Moor, Hatfield Moor and Wedhome Flow - are all designated by the UK government as top wildlife sites and parts of them are proposed as European Union conservation sites. Scotts continues to damage them by exploiting legal loopholes that are a hang-over from the end of World War II .
The Scotts Company prides itself as being the industry
leader in lawn and garden care. It brands are household names
in the States, and includes the like of Scotts, Turf Builder,Miracle-Gro
and Hyponex. In their joint letter to Berger, however, the
environment and conservation organisations question whether Scotts can
be a true industry leader until it recognises its
social and environmental responsibilities.
The UK's foremost conservation organisations have, time
and again, joined with local communities and politicians to call on
The Scotts Company to stop the destruction of these top wildlife sites
- but Scotts have consistently ignored our pleas. We are fed up with
their attitude, and we have decided it is time to alert our friends
and colleagues in US organisations, to the impact that Scotts is having
on the UK's countryside.
The massive number of organisational endorsements we have received for the open letter to Charles Berger, CEO for Scotts, shows that commercial vandalism of another country's wildlife is totally unacceptable.
Brent Blackwelder, President, Friends of the Earth (US) said:
It is absolutely shameful that the Scotts Company is destroying Britain's ancient peatlands. This is tantamount to destroying our precious redwood forests to make garden fertilizer. Berger should take this opportunity to end all peat extraction on environmentally sensitive sites, and commercially embrace sustainable alternatives to peat.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
 Thorne Moor, Hatfield Moor and Wedholme Flow are in the north
of England and are the UK's largest lowland raised peatlands. Such raised
bogs are formed by the slow decay of sphagnum mosses over thousands
of years, trapping water on flat lowland areas to form quivering domes
of waterlogged peatland,rich in wildlife (sometimes they are called
'quaking bogs'). Such peatlands also act as a record of thousands of
years of human activity as well as an irreplaceable archive of environmental
and ecological change. Bog bodies such as Lindow man have been found
in Britain's peatlands. Over 3,000 species of invertebrates as well
as wild birds such as the nightjar and plants such as the (insectivorous)
round-leaved sundew have been recorded at Thorne alone.
All the sites are (legally) exploited by The Scotts Company through
its UK business Levingtons - despite the fact that all the sites are
designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). SSSI designation
is the UK's official wildlife designation reflecting the high value
of the sites. FOE is campaigning to improve legal protection for SSSIs
with special attention to peatlands.
More details on SSSIs and the peat issue can be found at www.foe.co.uk/wildplaces
A full copy of the open letter to Charles M. Berger, CEO of
The Scotts Company, and a list of organisational endorsements, is available on request.
Friends of the Earth
26-28 Underwood St.
Tel: 020 7490 1555
Fax: 020 7490 0881