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Leaf clearing programme ends for another year

Two images of Beaver Hill. One shows the pavement covered in leaves while the second image shows the path after it has been cleared of the leaves

Clearing the city’s roads and pavements of fallen leaves has come to an end as Sheffield City Council will soon turn their attention to their grass cutting programme.

The leaf clearing programme started in October and this time saw Amey, the contractors for the council’s Streets Ahead programme, adopt a new strategy which saw areas identified as flooding hotspots due to fallen leaves, cleaned every two weeks during the winter months to help prevent any potential disruption.

They also adopted a reactive programme, which responded specifically to reports of issues caused by fallen leaves in areas of the city not prone to regular flooding and since October, the team have received 1,689 reports of fallen leaves, of which 521 were related to leaves causing hazards.

Between October and December, approximately 550 tonnes of leaves were collected from the city’s streets and by the time the leaf clearing programme finishes at the end of February, it’s estimated that over 730 tonnes of leaves will have been cleared – which is two and a half times heavier than the entire fleet of 19 gritters without their ploughs.

Councillor Joe Otten, Chairman of the council’s Waste and Street Scene Policy Committee said:

“Leaf fall in the autumn can create a lot of challenges and we try our best to remove fallen leaves before they become too much of an issue.

“Clearing leaves is a mammoth task so I’d like to offer my thanks to those volunteers from around the city who have given their time during the dark winter months to work alongside us.”

Kieron King, principal operations manager at Amey, said: “The weather can have a dramatic effect on clearing fallen leaves.

“Strong winds can cause the leaves to fall in one go while heavy rain can turn the leaves to mush, making them difficult to sweep and block our gullies and drainage systems and frozen leaves stick to ground surfaces.

“All of which means that our sweepers are ineffective and if we grit the roads in the winter, we cannot use our sweepers as this removes the grit.”

“Despite this, we’d like to thank all the Sheffield residents who have assisted our leaf clearing operations both by reporting areas of concern to us, as this really helps us direct our resources to the area’s most in need and to the voluntary groups who have cleared leaves from the highway into bags for us to collect.”

* While the teams will now be deployed onto the annual grass cutting programme, which will get underway later this month, members of the public can still report any issues with fallen leaves by going to