Editorial

A Little Quiet, Please




The days are getting longer, the temperature is getting warmer, and the annoying sound of leaf blowers and other yard equipment is getting louder.

Ask anyone who has watched an army of landscapers make their way across a neighbor’s near-perfect lawn, making sure every last dead leaf is blown out into the street, if they think some limits should be imposed on the noisemakers, and you are bound to hear a resounding “yes.” That is, if the landscapers aren’t working when you ask the question.

But there may be some relief in store for those fortunate enough to live in East Hampton Village, where a public hearing will be held next month on a new law that would pretty much ban the use of gas-powered leaf blowers by commercial landscapers from June 1 through Labor Day and impose daily limits on when most other landscaping work could be done.

Village officials say their proposed law is a work-in-progress and promise it will be tweaked if needed. One place to start would be in extending the summertime ban to individuals, who would still be allowed to use the noisy — and polluting — equipment to their heart’s content even if the new measure is passed.

Speaking of pollution, kudos to Southampton Town, especially Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera, for working with commercial landscapers to encourage them to make the switch from gas-powered landscaping equipment to electric gear.

In recent years, the town has run pilot programs in which it has outfitted parks department maintenance workers with electric gear at the East Quogue Village Green and at Town Hall. It has also sponsored demonstrations, including one last week, with industry groups to answer the questions of local business owners, who are concerned about the cost and whether electric equipment is powerful enough to meet their needs.

The good news is that manufacturers are producing better electric tools all the time. The better news is they are not as noisy as their gas-powered counterparts, and the best news is they are nowhere near as polluting.

Yes, it’s true that somewhere, somehow electricity still has to be produced to power an electric leaf blower, but compared to typical gas machines, which are said to produce almost 500 times the pollution of an automobile, it’s a no-brainer to at least explore going electric.