SIR: I have chosen to live in a wooded area. Trees, as we know, provide natural habitats for wildlife and make the environment a healthy and pleasant place. These, allegedly, are the advantages of having mature trees around us.

Back in the day, it was a healthy family activity to remove the millions of leaves that create the autumn carpet using besoms or wire rakes.

Today, our hectic lifestyle has spawned a breed of men and women who provide a leaf-sweeping service industry. They are not gardeners in the true sense of the word but part of an army whose sole weapon is the most powerful professional backpack leaf-blower that money can buy.

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Whilst rustling leaves have a decibel level of 20 and a babbling brook 40, the offending weapon has a decibel level of around 120. A jet engine at take-off has a decibel level of 140 so, in comparison, you realise that backpack leaf-blowers are pretty high up the noise scale; in fact, they are rated in the 'extremely loud' category.

In a typical woodland street of a hundred houses, there is, throughout the late autumn and winter period, a fairly constant noise from this army on the march. Leaf drop happens over many weeks and the army are on active service every day throughout this period.

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This is not a letter of complaint - just to make readers aware that the 'decibels among the deciduous' have become an inescapable part of the woodland soundscape!

Bob Sprague

Chandler's Ford

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