Territory war! Wildlife activists call for ban on artificial lawns amid concerns about birds and insects
- Over 3,000 people sign petition to get astroturf amid wildlife concerns
- Critics say artificial lawns are impacting wild birds and insect habitats in gardens
- Former Countryfile host Julia Bradbury said they were ‘toxic’ to humans and wildlife
Wildlife activists are calling for a ban on ‘environmentally irresponsible’ artificial turf used in UK gardens over fears it could harm animals and cause flooding.
Critics say trendy “astroturf” lawns are damaging to birds and insects, but advocates argue it’s a low-maintenance way to brighten up a garden.
The dispute escalated yesterday after a petition was sent to the government calling for a ban on plastic weed.
More than 3,000 people have signed a petition to ban artificial lawns due to their risk of flooding and their impact on the garden’s wildlife
Last night it had attracted over 3,000 signatures.
The petition read: “The sale of artificial turf should be banned in the UK for environmental reasons.
“It is ecologically irresponsible to allow the garden space occupied by grass and other plants (which process CO2 and support wildlife) to be replaced with plastic that does not biodegrade.”
Among those supporting the campaign is biology professor Dave Goulson.
The University of Sussex scholar said while it was socially unacceptable to buy single-use plastic bags in supermarkets, Britons cover much larger areas with plastic which becomes unsanitary as it ages and will be landfilled after a few years.
Artificial turf also contributes to flooding because it does not absorb water.
And as it decomposes, it releases plastic particles into the environment.
But BBC Radio 4 presenter Mishal Husain and Woman’s Hour’s Jane Garvey have defended their use of the turf.
Miss Garvey said that before she bought the plastic flooring covering her outdoor space, it was “muddy chaos”.
She added: “I didn’t really have a garden, I had a backyard, it was really horrible, really difficult to maintain and didn’t look good. It looks a lot better.
Miss Husain said astroturf was “an excellent all-season surface for cricket and football” for her sons.
John Terry, the former England football captain, spent £ 150,000 on an artificial turf for his nine-bedroom £ 4.3million Surrey mansion.
But on the Today program yesterday, Professor Goulson spoke to those looking for a quick fix for their garden and said artificial turf should require a building permit, a policy stance taken by the Green Party.
“There is no compelling reason for anyone to have plastic weed,” he told the Mail.
Julia Bradbury, the former Countryfile presenter, last night urged Britons to sign the petition.
She wrote: “Plastic lawns are toxic to humans and wildlife. The plastic particles they give off are dangerous, they contribute to global warming and when they get dirty with cat and bird poop in a few years they end up in landfill for hundreds of years. The opposite of nature and naturalness. ‘