Synthetic surfaces are sometimes considered in place of natural grass to accommodate the different demands we place on open spaces. The NSW government is investigating the impact of synthetic turf on the safety and amenity of open spaces.
Synthetic Turf Study in Public Open Space
We engaged consultancy Ethos Urban to do a study on the benefits and limitations of using synthetic surfaces in public open space for the Synthetic Turf Study in Public Open Space report (5.4 MB PDF).
NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer investigation
In November 2021, the government asked the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer to provide advice on potential risks to the environment and human health from the use of synthetic turf in public open space in NSW, and to assess alternative approaches and technologies.
Read the full Terms of Reference.
On 8 February 2022, the NSW Chief Scientist released an interim report which provided an update on their work on the use of synthetic surfaces in public open space.
The department has received the independent review into the design, use and impacts of synthetic turf in public open spaces report from the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, and is currently considering its recommendations.
In response to the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer’s report, we are setting up a project working group with key agencies to develop a whole-of-government response to the report to submit to Cabinet in the coming months.
In parallel, we are working closely with councils, industry and other government agencies to create guidelines to help make informed decisions about using synthetic turf in public spaces. We will release the guidelines later this year.
The guidelines will respond to the studies listed above.