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The BBC's Robert Pigott: Consumers want grass picked up as well as cut - this makes more noise
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Monday, 31 May, 1999, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Unkindest cut for mower makers

Mowers make too much noise say some EU members
Plans to cut the noise made by people mowing their lawns could make the UK's lawnmowers unusable, the industry has warned.

The UK's lawnmower manufacturers are preparing for a fight with Europe over plans to reduce the levels of noise made by motor mowers.

Several EU member countries are backing proposed legislation which would reduce the decibel level produced by mower engines.


Noise levels are monitored
Most mowers run at 98-100 decibels (dB). The new rules would cut this by two dB.

But lawnmower makers in the UK say that would make the majority of their products illegal.

The manufacturers say cutting noise levels could only be done by cutting power by as much as a third, and that would make the machines unusable on lush British lawns.

Cutting noise

Kim MacFie, of UK lawnmower makers Hayter, said: "What we like in this country are nice stripes in the lawn which means we have to lift the grass cuttings even further than four-wheel rotary mowers would have to do.

"So we tend to make a little bit more noise as a result of that."

Mowers in the UK already undergo strict tests to keep noise levels down.

Malcolm Every, of Sound Research Laboratories which carries out tests on mowers, said: "It would be very difficult to reduce sound output in the short term as it would mean a reduction in the power output of the lawnmower, which would mean it would be very difficult to cut the grass."

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