Fake grass crackdown planned by Michael Gove in war on plastic
The borough clerk wants to ban artificial turf in housing developments as he continues his war on plastic.
Michael Gove’s proposals mean local authorities can stop homebuilders from laying artificial turf.
The plans, as reported in the Sunday Times, are part of Mr Gove’s consultation on an updated version of the National Planning Policy Framework, which will be used by councils when deciding planning applications and drawing up local plans.
The changes are being introduced to try to reduce waste and improve environmental standards.
They come amid calls from activists for the government to step in and impose restrictions on artificial turf, which has gained popularity due to its increasingly realistic appearance and low maintenance.
According to Google Trends, which tracks popularity of online searches, the popularity of artificial turf surged during the pandemic, with a 185 percent increase in May 2020 compared to the same month last year.
However, environmentalists warn that artificial turf harms biodiversity because it increases the lack of natural habitats for small animals and insects. Additionally, once removed, they contribute to plastic pollution as most are not recyclable.
Latest demand from builders
It has been reported that the move planned by Mr Gove, the Secretary of State for Leveling, Housing and Communities, will only extend to open lawns on an estate or development, with homeowners still being able to create artificial grass in their own gardens. Sports fields are also excluded.
But this isn’t the first time Mr Gove has made demands on housing developments. Last month he vowed that the plans of developers seeking planning permission for new homes that are not “aesthetically high quality” would be “invited” and blocked by the government.
Speaking at a Center for Policy Studies conference, he said that “there are far too many flaws and flaws” in new homes.
“But more than that, for those who have seen new build, the fact that so many home builders use a restrictive pattern book with inferior materials and the aesthetic quality of their products is both disappointing and fails to meet the high aesthetic standards that may already exist .
“We will see the widespread acceptance of design codes and ways that individuals can see how it is easier to get planning permission if you build in a way that is consistent with those design codes.
“We will use all our strengths to ensure that developments that are not aesthetically high quality do not take place.”
The Surrey Heath MP’s comments are part of his plan to reduce public opposition to housing projects.
His fling with artificial turf also comes after the Royal Horticultural Society announced in May that artificial grass would be banned at the Chelsea Flower Show because it didn’t fit with their stance on biodiversity and the environment.