By Angela Lovely

Man using leaf blower and dust cloud rising.
Raising dust and spores in Bedford Square. Photo: Jim Murray.

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.

6 replies on “Leaf blowers banned by Camden Council and University of London”

  1. This example of a borough council acting intelligently is as welcome as it is unusual. I have long wondered why leaf blowers are used at all. Borough gardeners seem to use them merely to clear paths and other areas without sweeping up the leaves afterwards, surely a pointless exercise because the wind undoes the work a moment later.

    Now that Camden has seen the light, we can only hope that other councils will follow this good example.

  2. I am in a semi detatched house . We have had non stop noise builders bad behaviour for 3 years and every Saturday afternoon at around 5/5.30 a team of gardeners turn up with with their leaf blowers their very loud over large lawn mower and anything they can find which is noisy. The gardens are very small but they make a lot of noise for a very long time. They have been known to do this in the dark. Are these leaf blowers illegal or are they not? They also blow the leaves out into street which I also thought was an offence.

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