‘Like driving 100 miles!’ Gardeners told DITCH petrol lawnmowers – calls to ban them

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Environmentalists and campaign groups have been calling on the Government to ban petrol-powered lawnmowers after discovering the harmful impacts they have on the environment.

California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently revealed that operating a petrol lawnmower for one hour releases as much pollution as driving for 100 miles.

Simon Toomer, curator of living collections at Kew Gardens, said that one of the most important things gardeners can do in the short-term is to reduce their energy consumption.

This, he said, includes ditching common gardening equipment such as lawnmowers and sprinklers.

An estimated 23 percent of urban land in the UK is covered by lawns.

Mr Toomer said this gives gardeners a great opportunity to help fight the global biodiversity crisis.

Sally Nex, a professional gardener and author of the book How to Garden the Low Carbon Way, switched her petrol mower for a battery-powered one after learning about the toxic fumes they emit.

She said: “There’s no regulation on the maximum emissions for petrol-powered tools – it’s really shocking.”

Leaf blowers have also been found to contribute to climate change as they produce the same amount of emissions as a 1,100-mile car journey, according to CARB.

Switching to electric-powered tools can reduce the amount of harm gardeners cause to the environment – mowing much less frequently could also lessen the impact.

Justin Moat, senior research leader on Kew Gardens, said: “In the past, everyone wanted a pristine lawn, but now there’s a big movement in gardening for more natural landscapes which is really quite exciting”.

He said to be more sustainable, gardeners “need to put up with scruffy lawns”.

This includes using less harmful chemicals on plants, using homemade compost and not using petrol-powered tools such as lawnmowers.

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In recent years, the UK Government has been called upon to ban all petrol-powered gardening tools by 2025.

Pressure group Challenge 2025 is urging Boris Johnson to stop the sale of outdoor power tools that cause harm to the environment. The group say some tools cause more damage than cars.

A spokesperson for the group said: “These tools are proven to use significant levels of petrol compared to the average car and in some cases even exceed permitted automotive levels of particulates — unbelievable when you think about the effort we’ve made introducing clean air zones into our urban areas!

“There really is a horrible irony that the tools built to maintain our green spaces are actually harming them.”

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