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NSW Government releases report on use of synthetic turf in community sport

NSW Government releases report on use of synthetic turf in community sport
October 22, 2021

The NSW Government has today released a report that outlines the potential social, environmental and economic impacts, benefits, and limitations of using synthetic turf as a replacement for natural grass in public open spaces and community sporting fields.

NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes commissioned the study in response to community concerns about urban heat, and environmental and social impacts of synthetic surfaces.

Commenting as the initial Synthetic Turf Study in Public Open Space was released, Minister Stokes stated “synthetic turf has become increasingly popular for use on sporting fields in recent years.

“But there are significant concerns within the community about its use and councils need consistent guidelines that address the pros and cons.”

Coinciding with the release of the report, the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer will commence an investigation into the use of synthetic surfaces for sporting fields and public open space to help inform the state’s first guidelines on the use of the product.

Explaining this, Minister Stokes added “I have asked the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer to further investigate the impacts, and any alternatives that can be used in our parks and public spaces to support development of the state’s first set of guidelines.”

The initial report recommends:

  • Providing consistent state-wide guidance to councils and industry in the planning, design and management of synthetic surfaces in public spaces;
  • Reviewing the planning process to ensure the views of the community inform decisions regarding the use of synthetic versus natural turf surfaces; and
  • Further research on the human health and natural environmental impacts, such as urban heat island effect, microplastics, use in bushfire-prone areas, social implications and surface alternatives.

Click here to view the Synthetic Turf Study in Public Open Space.

Frequent contributor Martin Sheppard explored perceptions, reality and arguments around synthetic sports fields in a feature in Australasian Leisure Management issue 145.

Related Articles

20th October 2021 - National Sports Convention to highlight sustainability as being critical for Future of Sport

12th July 2021 - Baw Baw Shire Council delivers synthetic football pitch at Baxter Park

14th June 2021 - Sydney Council to install Australia’s first ‘environmentally sensitive’ synthetic football field

15th April 2021 - NSW Planning Minister to investigate alternatives to synthetic grass

7th July 2020 - Parramatta Council unveils its new synthetic sports field at Rydalmere Park

2nd March 2020 - Melbourne court awards $240,000 to teenager underpaid by synthetic grass installer

10th December 2019 - Synthetic Grass and Rubber Surfaces launches scheme to recycle old playground rubber surfaces

5th December 2019 - Australian Synthetic Sports Surfaces Discussion Group launched on LinkedIn

2nd December 2019 - Smart Connection Consultancy releases updated guidance for Synthetic Sports Surfaces

31st October 2019 - City of Sydney to add artificial turf surfaces at three sports fields

9th September 2019 - New artificial turf field revealed at Palmerston North’s Central Energy Trust Arena

29th August 2019 - Sydney’s Northern Beaches Council opens latest artificial turf development

16th July 2018 - Work begins on Wollongong City Council’s first artificial turf sports fields

24th January 2018 - Sydney Swans put artificial turf to the test in pre-season training

9th December 2016 - ASTM International standard for artificial turf infill

11th June 2016 - Football West looks to multiple artificial turf installations


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