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Birmingham looks to phase out gas leaf blowers

By Grace Lovins

Birmingham has taken the first step in a move to ban two-stroke gas leaf blowers.

At the city commission meeting on Monday, September 11, commissioners approved a statement of intent that indicates over the next three years the city will be phasing out leaf blowers with two-stroke engines. The move comes after discussing the option during two meetings between last October and this August.

When the commission first showed interest in pursuing a plan to potentially ban the leaf blowers, city staff brought research that showed the impacts two-stroke engines have on the environment. Emissions, noise and the “greater environment” were all reviewed by commissioners, leading them to direct staff to come up with a phased approach.

According to the meeting packet, the phase-out of two-stroke engine blowers also advances the city’s sustainability goals. By removing two-stroke engine leaf blowers and encouraging the transition to electric or manual, the goal is to significantly reduce the effect on public health and the environment.

The commission’s move does not yet ban or restrict two-stroke engine leaf blowers. Rather, the city will look to phase out these leaf blowers over the course of the next few years and are giving the rest of Birmingham notice that they are moving in the direction of phasing out two-stroke engine leaf blowers completely.

A drafted timeline included in the meeting packet shows the city is looking to begin drafting an ordinance in 2024. A total phase-out of two-stroke leaf blowers is anticipated by 2026. According to Nick Dupuis, the city’s planning director, the drafted three-year timeline lines up with the city’s budget cycle.

Commissioners voted unanimously, 7-0, to adopt the resolution expressing their intent to phase out the leaf blowers.


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