More than 1,000 tonnes of leaves – the weight of 72 big ben bells – will be cleared from the streets of Westminster over the coming weeks, as the council’s leafing plan sweeps into action.
For the next six weeks the city’s street cleaners, managed by Veolia on behalf of Westminster City Council, will be working in pairs to bag up and dispose of the avalanche of autumnal foliage.
Extra vehicles will be drafted in to help clear away the leaves, with 50,000 bags taken away per week.
Cllr Tim Mitchell, Westminster City Council cabinet member for Environment and City Management, said:
“Autumn makes our leafy streets even more scenic than usual, but when the leaves start to fall it does create a lot of work.
“Our on-street team will be branching out, sweeping away more than 1,000 tonnes over the coming weeks. Credit to them for their hard work, a small price to pay for having so much greenery in Westminster.”
The long, residential, tree-lined roads of Maida Vale tend to be our toughest for leaves, especially Hamilton Terrace and Elgin Avenue.
By teaming up sweepers are able to work more effectively, meaning each street only needs to be done every other day.
Helder Branco, Senior Contract Manager for Veolia said:
“The clearing of fallen autumn leaves is a big task, but our hard working teams are dedicated to keeping Westminster’s streets clean in all weathers. In winter we cleared the snow, in summer we braved the heat and now in Autumn, we’ll have over 250 operatives busily clearing leaves, so that Londoners have clean and safe streets to travel on every day.”
Unfortunately, based on advice from the Environment Agency, the leaves collected can’t be used for compost because of heavy metals in the leaf-sweepings. This is due to pollution from vehicles in such a built-up area. Instead the leaves will sent to Veolia’s SELCHP Energy Recovery Facility, where they will be used to generate heat and power for local homes.