Position Statement on 3G Pitches

The result of a collaboration between key stakeholders in response to questions and concerns regarding "Third Generation" (3G) Artificial Grass Pitches

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Raising the standards for sports facility projects

We are the recognised trade association for the sports and play construction industry in the UK. All of our members go through a strict checking process:

  • Strict Admission Criteria
  • Standards of Construction
  • Code of Professional Conduct
  • Technical Mediation
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The following is a joint statement produced by key stakeholders (DCMS, Sport England, sportscotland, Sport Wales, the GMA, Football Foundation, The FA, RFL, SAPCA and England Rugby on common areas of interest relating to the environmental sustainability of artificial grass pitches and the use of rubber crumb in 3G pitches:

“Artificial grass pitches are recognised as a durable, safe, year-round playing surfaces, able to withstand intensive use and all kinds of weather. They mean more people can benefit from the social and health benefits of physical activity. However, concerns have been raised about the safety and environmental impact associated with these pitches. Most commonly this relates to the fibre loss of microplastics and; in the case of third generation or 3G pitches, the presence of rubber crumb (which is also a microplastic). We take these concerns very seriously.

“We have monitored numerous independent scientific studies on the safety of rubber crumb, which have reported a very low or negligible level of concern for human health. The European Chemicals Agency European Chemicals Regulatory Authority (ECHA) published its own findings in 2019, following an extensive EU-wide study, and found no reason to advise people against playing sport on 3G pitches with rubber crumb.

“In response to the concerns, the Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA), the UK trade body for the sports pitch industry, has agreed and implemented a mandatory standard for their members that provides the same PAH restrictions as that proposed for European regulation. Sport England, Sport Wales, Sport Scotland and leading sport governing bodies all support this approach.”

“Following the UK’s exit from the EU, the regulatory framework for these matters now sits at a UK level (except for Northern Ireland). The four national governments of the UK and their agencies are working with leading sports and industry bodies to provide greater reassurance to communities that artificial grass pitches in this country are both safe for the environment and for people to play on.”

Frequently asked questions

This document has been prepared as result of a collaboration between the key stakeholders listed below to bring together a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the use of infill materials in “third generation” (3G) artificial grass (aka synthetic turf) pitches.

The FAQs are provided for general information only and are based on information, research and material that is currently in the public domain.

The guidance will be kept under review continually by members of the group and updated as necessary.

The FAQs are not intended to be a comprehensive guide replacing the need for specialist technical advice.

You should seek specialist advice from suitably qualified and experienced professionals in relation to concerns about specific sites or projects.

Care has been taken over the accuracy of the content of this guidance note, but the Stakeholders cannot guarantee that the information is up to date or reflects all relevant legal requirements at the time of reading.

Click here to download FAQs.