Ipswich leafbusters have to cope with 25 bus-loads of mess on town’s roads!

The leaf clearing team take to the streets of Ipswich. L-R Brian Lennie, Marc James, Le Burth, Rober

The leaf clearing team take to the streets of Ipswich. L-R Brian Lennie, Marc James, Le Burth, Robert Arnold. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

If you’ve ever tried to clear the leaves from your garden at this time of the year, you’ll know exactly the problems faced by Ipswich’s team of leafbusters!

Fancy dealing with enough leaves to fill 25 buses like this? Picture: SIMON PARKER

Fancy dealing with enough leaves to fill 25 buses like this? Picture: SIMON PARKER

The borough council has a team out for about 10 weeks trying to keep the town’s roads, pavements and car parks clear of leaves during the autumn.

And that’s no small job. The 40,000 trees on the town’s roads and open spaces deposit 235 tonnes of leaves that have to be swept up – that’s enough to fill more than 25 double decker buses.

And if you really want to start counting (and no one has individually!) that is estimated to be about five billion (that is 5,000,000,000 to you and me) individual leaves.

As well as 460 miles of pavements and streets, the team made up from the 22-strong street cleansing squad, also keep the town’s borough-run car parks clear of leaves.

Most of the leaves are sent to the town’s composting plant and are recycled to help the next generation of plants grow across the town.

But those that are contaminated, that have ended up in the gutter and covered in oil and other chemicals, have to be sent to the county incinerator to be burned as rubbish – they don’t end up on the Christchurch Park bonfire!

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And that is only the leaves that end up on the roads and car parks – it does not include the town’s parkland trees. The leaves there are sorted out by the borough’s team of park rangers.

Borough council operations manager Ian Kerrison said: “It is quite a battle that goes on for eight to 10 weeks from early October until the beginning of December. But we have a great team.

“One of the things about this work is that you have to keep going over and re-doing the work time after time. You can clear the road and pavement one day and then a couple of hours later the wind can come along and bring down a lot more leaves and it looks as if you haven’t done anything!”

And he had the recipe for perfect autumn weather for the team: “What we need is a good hard frost in the evening and then for the wind to get up in the night and bring down all the leaves in one go. We can but hope!”

In the meantime the team of blowers, brooms, and waste truck will be out again, and again, and again in a bid to clear as many leaves as possible.

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