LARCHMONT FIRST IN NORTHEAST TO BAN GAS-POWERED LEAF BLOWERS
Board of Trustees Passes New Law to Take Effect January 1, 2022
Larchmont, NY, September 21, 2020 – The Village of Larchmont Board of Trustees unanimously banned gas-powered leaf blowers effective January 2022. The Board also limited electric leaf blowers to spring and fall clean-ups, with temporary allowances as determined by the Mayor for extreme weather events.
Mayor Lorraine Walsh said, “Larchmont is proud to be a leader in municipal green policy. Policies such as this, which ban the use of gas-powered leaf blowers entirely, are essential if we are going to make meaningful progress in turning back the environmental damages causing global climate change. Thanks to the Larchmont Environmental Committee for working so hard on this legislative change and educating the community about the impacts of gas-powered leaf blower use.”
The new code follows a four-year outreach campaign by the Larchmont Environmental Committee to inform residents and landscape workers of mounting evidence regarding the hazards of leaf blowers. These include:
- Public health hazards, when gases and particulates are inhaled by crews, residents, neighbors, and passers-by;
- Damage to the environment, as hurricane-force air currents dessicate soil and plants and destroy insect and wildlife habitat;
- Social and environmental justice issues, which affect crews exposed to health hazards often without knowledge, protection, or power to object.
Larchmont made news in 1985 as one of the first municipalities to note concerns over leaf blowers (“In Verdant Larchmont, A Battle Over Garden Noise” New York Times, June 10, 1985) and 10 years later, in 1995, when its Board enacted a summer ban. This past spring, Mayor Walsh issued an Executive Order banning leaf blowers during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce noise for those working from home and to protect residents, particularly the most vulnerable members of the community — children, seniors and convalescents. Residents praise the relative quiet, clear air, and greatly increased awareness of wildlife, especially birds, throughout the day. And Larchmont remains as beautiful as ever.
Larchmont Environmental Committee leaf blower presentations to the Village of Larchmont Board of Trustees can be viewed here:
Committee presentation on 05/18/2020 (select agenda item 3)
Public conversation on 06/15/2020 (select agenda item 3)