By Angela Lovely
Perhaps one of the most stupid devices ever invented. Leaf blowers were promoted by their manufacturers as an easy way to sweep leaves up. Their noisy electric or petrol engines would disturb the peace of a Sunday morning and worse raise dust and pollen into an already heavily polluted atmosphere.
Blowing leaves was easier than sweeping them, apparently. Marketing people would say anything to sell a product to a gullible public.
One resident had enough when street sweepers in Bedford Square were seen to be using the noisy leaf blowers to sweep up the spores from London plane trees. Jim Murray saw a fine haze drifting across Bedford Square in his direction, took a picture and sent it by email to Camden Council after escaping indoors to avoid suffering a bout of heavy sneezing.
My Murray, who is chair of the Bloomsbury Association, told Camden Council: “The dust that you see is the spores from the Plane Trees which, when they divide, float around and scatter. This affects the atmosphere in London, and at a casual glance, it looks as if it is raining. These spores cause havoc for those poor souls who suffer from hay fever, and, at least, make the eyes water of those that don’t suffer from that allergy.
“I really am unable to understand how our borough council can spread air pollution like this,” he wrote.
Seeing sense, an officer from Camden said they would ban the use of these machines immediately and sweepers would do the obvious thing and use a broom. University of London also banned the use of blowers by maintenance teams.