LELE is not an effort to eliminate leaf blowers (in spite of the various health, air quality, and soil issues that Leaf blowers create). Already in Westchester County, all landscapers and homeowners are supposed to be using the newer, cleaner, more efficient 4-cycle leaf blowers and lawn mowers.
As to the use of leaf blowers during the actual LELE process, there are a number of instances where such use is required:
- gathering leaves from driveways, walkways and other paved areas, and thence moving them to a location (typically on lawn) where they can be mulch-mowed.
- moving excess mulched leaves into yard margins such as landscape beds. (Effectively creates winter mulch.)
- balancing out (spreading out) mulched leaves across the lawn to achieve a more even layer. (Note that nearer to trees or wooded margins, the concentration of leaves will typically be much higher than other more open areas of the lawn. Thus, the goal is to ensure that the buildup of 'leaf chippings' does not get too deep in any one spot - which would negatively affect lawn health.)
In the overall scheme of things, LELE methodology will typically reduce leaf blower use, although specific tasks (as outlined above) must still be assigned to their use.
In addition, it is still up to the landscaping crew supervisor to train workers about the importance of not leaving leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and similar gas-powered tools idling while other tasks are being performed. Or waste gas and create excess noise & pollution while chasing a single leaf around a client's property.
In many municipalities, leaf blower bans are being discussed and some have been enacted. The bans tend to be seasonal, with fall and early spring being the allowed times for use. Exceptions are often provided for extreme weather events and for municipal DPW/Parks staff. Some restrict the total number of units allowed to be operated simultaneously by a work crew.