Providing a third-generation synthetic turf field is fitted with risk management measures to prevent the spread of polymeric infill outside the field, there is no need to ban the use of rubber infill, a Dutch court has ruled.
The court had been approached by the InStrepitus Foundation, a Dutch foundation that has been relentlessly pursuing Dutch municipalities in an attempt to get rid of polymeric infill.
The foundation had approached Tilburg municipality in 2019 with a request to take enforcement action against the use of rubber infill in synthetic turf fields that had been installed the year before.
Instead, in line with its policies, the municipality issued a warning to the clubs involved after it had observed that kickboards hadn’t been fitted properly and polymeric infill was found outside the field perimeter. The municipality also launched an investigation to establish whether the infill outside the field had polluted the soil.
Not good enough
The InStrepitus Foundation has the view that the installation and use of synthetic turf pitches with rubber granulate is by definition in violation of the duty of care. Unhappy with the rejection by the city council, the foundation started a legal process.
The court has ruled that the duty of care does require that all measures are taken that can be reasonably required to prevent soil contamination. The so-called duty of care documents, as established by the relevant industry associations, do play a role. These documents list concrete measures that are required to prevent contamination or damage to the soil. The court has the opinion that, if the municipality follows these recommendations, the duty of care is fulfilled.