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Campaigners call on government to introduce plastic grass tax

Jess Hardiman

Published 
| Last updated 

Campaigners call on government to introduce plastic grass tax

Featured Image Credit: Kay Roxby/Alamy/Ashley Cooper pics/Alamy

Campaigners are calling on the UK government to bring in a tax on artificial grass, saying it causes damage to the eco-system. 

Artificial or plastic grass is turf made of synthetic fibres made to look like a real lawn. 

While it has often been used in sporting environments, it is being increasingly installed in a domestic setting, with residents aspiring for perfect grass with minimal maintenance.

However, campaigners are now arguing that the man-made turf is having an impact on the environment, saying it ‘kills’ any sign of life that lies below it.

Charlotte Howard, a garden designer at Capability Charlotte, is among those calling for an ecological damage tax on new artificial grass. 

She told the BBC: “The problem with plastic grass is that it basically kills anything beneath it. It’s literally a sheet of plastic. 

“Any sign of life, any worms, any microorganisms, will have scarpered long ago.” 

Showing the camera as she pulled up a piece of artificial turf to reveal the clay underneath, she continued: “We’re finally hitting soil. The soil that is here is really nasty clay. 

“All the air in this soil has been replaced by water. That means anything that you try and plant in here is really going to struggle.” 

Charlotte Howard, a garden designer at Capability Charlotte. Credit: BBC
Charlotte Howard, a garden designer at Capability Charlotte. Credit: BBC

However, others argue that plastic grass offers a ‘practical’ solution to their gardening woes. 

Also speaking to the BBC, Annabel Hill explained how she has had artificial grass in her garden for the past eight years. 

"I wouldn’t want to just lay this lawn because it’s an easy option,” she said. 

“I’m doing it because I’ve tried growing the real thing and it doesn’t work. It just didn’t grow under the pear tree and in such a small space, this is a practical solution.” 

David Finch of David Finch Artificial Lawns also agrees that it isn’t just an easy alternative. 

“We’ve been going since 2010,” he said. 

“Our company has doubled and doubled and doubled. We’re at 20,000 square metres. 

“There’s a demand for the product that wouldn’t be there if we didn’t need it. 

“There’s a conception that it’s lazy people that just don’t want to cut the grass – that really isn’t the case.” 

Some say it offers a 'practical' solution. Credit: Steven Jones/Alamy Stock Photo
Some say it offers a 'practical' solution. Credit: Steven Jones/Alamy Stock Photo

In a statement, a government spokesperson told the BBC: “There are no current plans to introduce a tax on artificial grass. The government keeps all tax policy under review.” 

The spokesperson added: "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."

LADbible has reached out to the HM Treasury and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for comment. 

Topics: UK News, Environment

Jess Hardiman
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