Synthetic Surfaces in Public Open Space
Investing in public open space is a priority of the NSW Government. It supports better outcomes for everyone – health and wellbeing, connects communities and boosts NSW’s economic productivity.
Different activities create pressure on public open space, and to accommodate this synthetic surfaces are sometimes considered in place of natural grass.
Synthetic Turf Study in Public Open Space
The Department of Planning and Environment has undertaken a Study on the benefits and limitations of the use of synthetic surfaces in public open space.
NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Investigation
In November 2021, the then Minister for Planning and Public Spaces requested the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer provide advice on potential risks to the environment and human health from the use of synthetic turf in public open space in NSW and alternative approaches and technologies.
The advice was to include:
- key scientific and technical issues associated with the use of synthetic turf compared with grass surfaces
- potential health, environmental and ecological impacts associated with different surface types; and
- emerging science and materials that could be used in conjunction with or as an alternate to existing natural and synthetic surfaces.
View the full Terms of Reference.
On 8 February 2022, the NSW Chief Scientist released an interim report (PDF, 265 KB) which provided an update on their work on the use of synthetic surfaces in public open space.
The Department of Planning and Environment is working closely with councils, industry and government agencies to create guidelines to assist decision making on the use of synthetic turf, which will be released in 2023.
Information from the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer’s study will help inform the guidelines.
For more information about the department’s work on synthetic turf, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Page last updated: 22/12/2022