By Harry Mottram: Bath City Football Club will this week (Week 6) submit a planning application to B&NES council for a 3G pitch at Twerton Park.
The idea say the club is as part of a ‘longstanding strategy to make the Club a sustainable business at the heart of our community.’
In a statement the club said: “For the football club itself, a 3G pitch would reduce income lost due to match postponements (four this season already including women’s games) as well as providing a much-needed significant additional revenue stream. The Bath City family has a men’s team, a women’s team, an Academy, a thriving youth football club and our charity, The Bath City FC Foundation, which runs numerous community programmes, all of whom would use the pitch. In addition, the pitch would be available for hire by other sports clubs, schools, business and individuals, providing another 3G pitch for the city, where access to such pitches is oversubscribed. If the application is successful, and subject to successful funding arrangements, the aim would be to instal the pitch at the end of this season in time for the 2023/24 season or, given the time constraints, in the following close season.”
The club said they will work with Bath-based Rengen Developments to bring the plan to fruition. However there is likely to be some opposition – not just from fans although the club feels most fans are onboard with the plans – but with those worried about micro plastic pollution. Due to the structure of the pitches they are a source of micro plastics which eventually get into rivers and the sea. 3G pitches are a synthetic turf made from artificial grass, supported by a base layer of sand and rubber crumb infill.
Sport England say they take the issue of pollution very seriously. In a statement they said: “We’ve 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. We, along with 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.”
For more on the plans at the club and news of the redevelopment visit https://www.bathcityfc.com/