Minister for Climate change highlights the perils of artificial grass, hedging and pots and things

Welsh Government may consider banning artificial grass and hedging.

The very mention of considering a ban may come as a surprise to numerous sporting organisations and the finance department of Welsh Government after hundreds of thousands of pounds have been issued over recent years to install artificial grass playing surfaces, 3G and 4G pitches.

At the Plenary (June 7) the Minister for Climate Change Julie James in answer to a question from Sioned Williams MS on the trend of using artificial grass in urban environments said: “Artificial grass really does have a very, very bad effect on the local sustainability of a large number of areas in Wales. As you rightly said, there is a short-term focus on, maybe, it being lower maintenance, but, actually, weeds come up through artificial grass. It can be very difficult to clean, if an animal has been on it, and, actually, there are quite worrying reports from a number of university sources, saying that the toxicity coming off artificial grass, if it’s played on by children and so on, is quite alarming. So, actually, I really do think we need to get a public information campaign going about why it isn’t the short-term solution it looks like for people.

“I’ve also noticed a slightly worrying tendency for artificial hedges and pots and things. You only have to look at those after one autumn of rain to see that they’ve leached the colour out of them and they’ve gone into the environment. So, I think it really is an important issue. We will be looking at all of our guidance and working with our local authorities to make sure that it isn’t used in any publicly funded space, but I also want to get a piece of evidence going to (a), do a public information campaign about the problems with artificial grass, and (b), explore whether our new single-use plastics Bill, which got the royal seal—. I was at the sealing ceremony on Monday, and I hope it’s on its way to you, if it hasn’t arrived already, Llywydd. That gave us the ability to add in other plastics for banning, so I really want to explore proactively whether it’s possible to do it through that route as well.”


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