A leading producer of fresh herbs and salad cress is to grow cress on a wood pulp substrate rather than peat.

West Sussex-based Vitacress announced it would stop using peat in its cress production, ahead of a government deadline to do so by 2030. Collecting peat is damaging to the environment because peatlands are efficient carbon sinks.

The company said the new substrates would be produced from sustainably grown pine trees, and that they would require far less transportation - three lorryloads a year, against the 13 currently needed.

It also said its new substrate boasted stronger water-holding capacity, which would deliver a longer plant life.