Author: NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
The use of synthetic surfaces for sporting fields and public open space is being investigated by NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, to help inform the state’s first guidelines on the use of the product.
The announcement comes as the NSW Government released the Synthetic Turf Study in Public Open Space, an initial 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.
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.
“Synthetic turf has become increasingly popular for use on sporting fields in recent years,” said Mr Stokes.
“But there are significant concerns within the community about its use and councils need consistent guidelines that address the pros and cons.
“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.
To view the Synthetic Turf Study in Public Open Space visit planning.nsw.gov.au/policy-and-legislation/open-space-and-parklands/synthetic-turf-study