Wyevale Nurseries has revealed it has passed its ISO 14001 Environmental Audit this year with its prime objective for 2021 being further peat reduction and taking it below 50%.
The Hereford-based business has been awarded a certificate for its Environmental Management System, which meets requirements for the production and supply of container-grown stock to garden centres and amenity markets.
Steve Reed, production director container division at Wyevale Nurseries, said: “We’re delighted to announce we’ve just passed our ISO 14001 Environmental Audit for the 10th year running with our prime objective being peat reduction, followed by a continued decrease in the use of water.
“It’s great to have this environmental accreditation in place. We couldn’t have achieved this without the support of the whole nursery, and I’d like to thank every member of the team for their involvement.”
ISO 14001 is an internationally accredited standard that outlines how to put an effective environmental management system in place within organisations. It is designed to help businesses remain commercially successful without overlooking environmental responsibilities and impacts. It can also help businesses to grow sustainably while reducing the environmental impact of this growth.
Steve added: “With regards to peat reduction, last year we installed a commercial trial of peat-free stock. To replace the peat, we are using wood fibre from managed forest plantations. We also continued to reduce the peat in our general stock in 2020. In total the nursery reduced its peat use to 56% of all the compost used.
“The main factors with using alternatives to peat are managing the water and nutritional use, because peat-free media is less spongy, so it does not hold as much water and, thus, more frequent applications of water are needed, but less water is applied each time. Also, we need to make sure plants keep a good healthy colour, and don’t go yellow, and they grow to a standard that is suitable for our garden centre and amenity customers.
“In 2021, we plan to reduce peat use to below 50%, so less than half of everything we pot at Wyevale Nurseries will contain peat. To achieve this, we will increase our peat-free trial to 30,000 plants this year and grow 200,000 of our young plants in smaller pots, peat-free as well. We will be assisted with regular visits by an ADAS consultant and from Melcourt, who are providing the compost.
“We also have regular targets for recycling water and at present we are at maximum. Our last two years figures are similar, averaging at around 42,602 m³, which is just more than 17 Olympic-sized swimming pools. In order to recycle more water, we need a reservoir and in October we gained planning permission to build one, but when work starts on this in 2021 is currently dependent on COVID demands and restrictions.”