Island Roads sweeps in to make brown leaves green

Posted on: October 7, 2021 at 11:10 am Two Island Roads staff in full gear with leaf cleaning equipment standing in front of a mechanical leaf sweeper ready to go into action.
Operative Lee Jones and chargehand Amanda Cooney ready for leaf clearing

Island Roads has begun an intensive period of street cleansing aimed at removing autumn leaves from the highway.

Over the next ten weeks, additional mechanical sweepers and extra shifts will be used to remove tonnes of leaves from the network ahead of winter. Areas with known high leaf fall will be targeted in particular.

The leaves themselves – and also additional material collected during the sweeping – will be sorted and recycled.

Dave Wallis, Island Roads’ operations and maintenance manager said: “It is important we do all we can to remove leaves from the road and footway network.

“Not only can leaves become slippery to cars and pedestrians if left uncollected, heavy leaf-fall can also obscure road markings and compromise the highway drainage system

“Fortunately, we know roughly when and where leaf-fall has been an issue and we will focus our efforts on these areas during the coming ten weeks.”

Upon collection, the leaves are taken to Island Roads’s depot at Stag Lane. The leaf pile is then drained and released water captured and filtered before being discharged back into the sewer system.

The leaf litter in then sorted so material such as sand and grit can be reused as building materials. The leaf pile itself is then used for compost and soil.

“Around 95 percent of material gathered during the leaf sweeping and collection is recycled in some form,” Dave said. “This is very much in line with our aim of providing the Island’s road maintenance service in the most efficient and environmentally-friendly way we can.”

The work has been welcomed by Phil Jordan, IW Council cabinet member for transport and infrastructure.

He said: “I’m very pleased to support the approach Island Roads are taking to manage the annual autumn fall of leaves on the Island.

“We know they can be dangerous and hazardous as we move into winter weather and darker nights and so the plan is very welcome.

“I’m impressed by their commitment to our climate change policies and to environmental sustainability and I know our communities will benefit greatly from the work Island Roads are carrying out.”