Conservationists slam gardeners for using artificial grass which 'ruins habitats' and is 'terrible for birds, butterflies and bees'

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  • Artificial lawns are becoming popular with Britons who are too busy to cut grass
  • Wildlife charities claim it does not provide food or shelter for animals and insects
  • Row broke out on Radio 4’s Today, as Mishal Husain said she uses artificial grass
  • She was blasted by John Humphrys, who branded using the sheeting as ‘ghastly’

Artificial grass (file photo) is increasing in popularity with Britons who are too busy to cut their garden, according to the Royal Horticultural Society

Artificial grass (file photo) is increasing in popularity with Britons who are too busy to cut their garden, according to the Royal Horticultural Society 

Jon Traill, who is Living Landscapes Manager for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: 'Laying an artificial lawn is like putting up a no entry sign for garden wildlife.' He added that it stops birds from hunting worms (file photo) and forces the invertebrates out of the gardens

Jon Traill, who is Living Landscapes Manager for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: ‘Laying an artificial lawn is like putting up a no entry sign for garden wildlife.’ He added that it stops birds from hunting worms (file photo) and forces the invertebrates out of the gardens

Wildlife charities have slammed gardeners who carpet their lawns with artificial grass, claiming the trend is threatening birds and bugs.

The sterile plastic turf is increasing in popularity with Britons who are too busy to mow their lawns, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

But the artificial grass does not provide food or shelter for wildlife, with campaigners warning gardens are important sanctuaries for birds, small mammals and insects.

Two species of vertebrate, animals with a backbone, have gone extinct every year, on average, for the past century.

– Currently around 41 per cent of amphibian species and more than a quarter of mammals are threatened with extinction.

– There are an estimated 8.7 million plant and animal species on our planet and about 86 percent of land species and 91 percent of sea species remain undiscovered.

– Of the ones we do know, 1,204 mammal, 1,469 bird, 1,215 reptile, 2,100 amphibian, and 2,386 fish species are considered threatened.

– Also threatened are 1,414 insect, 2,187 mollusc, 732 crustacean, 237 coral, 12,505 plant, 33 mushroom, and six brown algae species.

– The global populations of 3,706 monitored vertebrate species – fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles – declined by nearly 60 per cent from 1970 to 2012.

RHS Chief Horticulturist Guy Barter told the Telegraph: ‘Anecdotally there are many reports of increasing demand for fake grass, but to the best of our knowledge they has been no formal survey.

‘There are greener alternatives; shade plantings for areas where it is too shady for lawns, drought resistant plantings for areas where lawns don’t thrive due to lack of soil moisture and for front gardens where mowing can be difficult, low maintenance plantings.’

This morning a row even broke out on Radio 4’s Today programme, after Mishal Husain disclosed that she uses artificial grass.

She said: ‘If you have plants around your artificial turf, then you still get butterflies.’

But she was blasted by veteran broadcaster John Humphrys, who branded using it as ‘ghastly’.

He added: ‘But the artificial turf kills everything else, it kills everything underneath it.’

The use of artificial lawns means gardeners are ‘putting up a no entry sign for wildlife’, according to the Wildlife Trusts.

Jon Traill, who is Living Landscapes Manager for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: ‘Laying an artificial lawn is like putting up a no entry sign for garden wildlife. Artificial turf is terrible for birds, butterflies and bees, and creates further plastic pollution.’

He added that it stops birds from hunting worms and forces the invertebrates out of the gardens.

Mr Traill claimed hedgehogs could start to die out as well due to a lack of worms and beetles to eat.



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