Westport’s new gas-powered leaf blower ordinance takes effect tomorrow.
Representative Town Meeting member Kristin Schneeman writes:
In January, Westport became one of the first towns in Connecticut to limit the use of gas-powered leaf blowers.
This year, from May 15 through October 15, gas-powered handheld and backpack leaf blowers may not be used on Sundays or holidays; after 3 p.m. on Saturdays, and before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. on weekdays (unless you are a homeowner doing their own yardwork or are using an electric blower.)
Beginning in 2024, gas blowers will be banned between May 15 and October 15 each year. Please let your landscapers and neighbors know!
The town has chosen to regulate the use of gas leaf blowers for a number of reasons:
- Most gas leaf blowers use extremely inefficient “two-stroke” engines that spew large amounts of fine particulate matter and other pollutants into the air. The California Air Resources Board studied lawn and garden equipment and found that the best-selling commercial gas leaf blower put out more smog-forming pollution in one hour than a Toyota Camry driving 1,100 miles.
- Health of residents and workers. The pollutants leaf blowers emit are known to cause cancer, heart problems, respiratory issues, problems in pregnancy, and even premature death for those with certain conditions. Landscape workers suffer the most, due to chronic exposure. Gas leaf blowers can also blast air at 200+ miles an hour, kicking up clouds of dust, mold, pollen, animal feces, and other tiny particles that linger in the air. These can irritate and cause health problems for both humans and pets.
- Gas leaf blowers are so loud that they can cause hearing loss fairly quickly for anyone within a 50-foot radius. Their noise has a strong low-frequency component that makes it travel especially far and pass through walls and windows easily. A typical crew operating multiple machines generates enough noise to exceed EPA community standards for 800 feet in all directions, making it difficult to concentrate for people working from home or attending school remotely.
Electric leaf blower.
- Leaf blowers destroy the natural layer of leaf litter that protects and nourishes plants and wildlife, including pollinators hibernating there for the winter.
- Lawn and garden beauty. Simply leaving short grass clippings on the lawn recycles their nutrients into the soil. In the fall, leaves can be mulched with a lawn mower or left on garden beds, where they will protect plants through the winter, suppress weeds, and improve soil structure and health. Instead of leaf blowers, we hope Westport property owners will use and encourage their landscapers to use some combination of battery-powered tools, mulch mowing, rakes, and “leaving the leaves” in garden beds.
For more details, scan the QR code or click here.
My parents resorted to me raking the leaves. I wonder if I could have convinced them (and the neighbors) that it was best to let the leaves be.
Cannot wait to catch my neighbor, oh wait! There’s no enforcement, at all! This is a false sense of security and promise to the people.
” … (unless you are a homeowner doing their own yardwork or are using an electric blower.)” So, sorry, your neighbor is exempt.
I fully support this ordinance – such as it is. And I am very thankful to Ms. Schneeman, her co-sponsors and Save Westport Now for their heavy lifting. However, I remain appalled that the town chose to exempt itself from its own cooking. What an awful message that sent. The administration should be ashamed.
Our town has, at least in my experience over half a century, always been a bad neighbor.
Really really dumb. First you don’t use blowers just for lowering leaves around in the yard. You use it after mowing to get cut grass off street and sidewalk. I wouldn’t use anything else than a gas blower as the electric ones run out too quickly.
The evidence has been clear for years. And though many discount its pervasive deleterious effects on health and quality of life, from infants to adults in their prime to seniors…
⫸ 🟣 NOISE HARMS HUMAN BEINGS! 🟣 ⫷
Don’t take it from me, take it from Harvard…
“For half a century, U.S. agencies such as the EPA have deemed noise pollution “a growing danger to the health and welfare of the Nation’s population.” The European Environmental Agency reports that noise ranks second only to air pollution as the environmental exposure most harmful to public health.
Yet, in sectors from government regulation to health care practice, the threats posed by noise remain “often underestimated,” according to the International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise.
Researchers and clinicians are trying to change this. They’ve shown that noise pollution not only drives hearing loss, tinnitus, and hypersensitivity to sound, but can cause or exacerbate cardiovascular disease; type 2 diabetes; sleep disturbances; stress; mental health and cognition problems, including memory impairment and attention deficits; childhood learning delays; and low birth weight. Scientists are investigating other possible links, including to dementia.”
🔔 “To say the onus is on the individual to fix their noise. 🔔
🔔 exposure is not feasible.” 🔔
Jonathan : )
Republican. Will you complain that it infringes on your freedom ?
Seek professional help 🇺🇸
Let me start by saying I support initiatives that support our environment, safety and peaceful town.
But this legislation is does none of that and is an embarrassment to our Town and RTM.
Most importantly, it has no teeth. Once a neighbor has turned someone in (yes, that’s how offenders are identified), the ONLY enforcement is that a flyer will be mailed to the offender (yes, that’s the extent of the penalties). Really.
Thousands of hours of RTM, Town staff and community member time was consumed to come up with this feel good/do nothing, vanity legislation. Just so it could be said that the Town has an ordinance that bans leaf blowers.
This should have been handled as an RTM Sense of the Meeting Resolution rather than cluttering up our Town’s regulations with text that has zero impact or effective enforcement.
All of this information was known by the RTM before they voted on the legislation and the RTM STILL put it on the books. This is not a victory, it’s an embarrassment.
AND, Mark, it assumes that we rich, lazy, digitally compromised Westporters never do our OWN leaf blowing or, if we do, we apparently makes less noise than do the professionals.
Has anyone in Westport ever tried installing a mulching blade on their lawnmower? Have used it for years it makes all leaves and debris disappear and returns nutrients to the soil. Yes you still have the lawnmower engine but they work equally well on battery powered equipment. As to the town’s leadership exempting itself from its own rules, why should Westport’s government be any different than those in Washington? Corruption and disdain for the honest taxpayer transcends party affiliation.
Incentivize using electric blowers Perhaps a small tax rebate ?
Good for you Mark‼️
But they feel good 😂🇺🇸
Not well thought out. Looks like a gas powered leaf blower that is not handheld or backpacked will be OK. The Town should not be exempt from this ordinance.
Why exempt non residential communities that are greater than 20 acres. The old saying ” what is good for the goose is good for the gander” should really apply here. I guess we will have to add many more employees to the Conservation Department to communicate with the many violators. This ordinance is a failure on the day it takes effect.
what a joke
can’t wait for someone to stage a protest and hundreds of gas leaf blowers be started in harmony in front of town hall or the folks that dreamt this up and pushed it through approvals houses LOL!
What a load of virtue signaling crap. So someone can tell a gas v electric leaf blower? Both sound the same. What useless “mandates”, just like you maskers to pass this.
The noise level on the gas is significantly louder. Plus it pollutes the dang air. Mandates is a command by a “man” not a woman.
This is the biggest piece of garbage “legislation” ever written. I do not and will not tell my landscapers how to do their job. They just so happen to be the experts in the business (and the field 😉 ).
Speaking of pollution…mining the minerals? Production & disposal of batteries?
I read in the presentations there is 9 decibel unit of volume in sound?!?!?
Elitists patting each other on the back.
The people that wrote this must live in apartments and they are just tired of hearing. Everybody else clean their yard because they are too lazy to get out and buy a house and do it their own