Closed petition Ban the sale and use of artificial grass for residential properties

The UK Government has previously responded to calls for the banning of artificial grass by stating that they 'prefer to help people and companies make the right choice, rather than banning items outright'. This response needs reviewing, as the use of artificial grass in UK gardens continues to grow.

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The UK is described as one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, yet people continue to destroy living gardens to replace them with plastic. Life on earth depends on rich biodiversity, and the use of artificial grass is irresponsible. This, aside from the issue of huge volumes of plastics should be enough to determine that the '25 Year Environment Plan' is not ambitious enough.
This is a simple step towards the commitment to COP26.
Incentives are not enough.

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Government responded

This response was given on 16 June 2022

The Government has no plans to ban the use of artificial grass.

Improving the UK’s biodiversity is a key objective for the Government. We recognise that, in itself, artificial grass has no value for wildlife, and its installation can have negative impacts on soil health, biodiversity and drainage for flood prevention or alleviation, if installed in place of natural earth or more positive measures such as planting flowers or trees or providing natural water features.

We prefer to help people and companies make the right choice, rather than banning or taxing items outright. We are seeing more organisations, including the Royal Horticultural Society, helping to communicate the risks and issues surrounding the use of artificial grass in place of natural landscaping.

The 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. Given the scale of the plastics problem, we need to take a targeted and evidence-led approach to tackling the issues of plastic waste. That is why our Plastic Packaging Tax and Collection and Packaging Reforms will help to reduce plastic waste, ensuring we keep as much material in circulation for as long as possible, by incentivising reduction, reuse and recycling of plastic at end-of-life.

We have no current plans to ban the sale of artificial grass, but in our recent call for evidence on commonly littered and problematic plastic items, we asked the public if there were any further plastic items we should consider for future policy action. We will review the feedback from the call for evidence and publish a response in due course.

The Environment Act 2021 contains an ambitious package of reforms to restore and enhance nature and green spaces. This includes a new mandatory requirement for biodiversity net gain in the planning system, to ensure that new developments enhance biodiversity. In future, developments which involve the laying of artificial grass at the expense of natural landscaping will be required to enhance biodiversity in other ways.

In addition, the Environment Act strengthens the current biodiversity duty on public authorities to require them to take action to conserve and enhance biodiversity; and introduces a reporting requirement for those public authorities with the greatest potential to enhance biodiversity. This will further incentivise public authorities to adopt approaches that improve the environment. We are also developing guidance to help local planning authorities identify actions they can take to comply with the strengthened duty.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs