22 MARCH 1930, Page 17

We have all heard the charge that tar from the

roads has poisoned the rivers, killing trout directly and destroying their food supply. I have made many efforts to test the truth of the belief, but it had never occurred to me, until this spring. that the tar also damaged vegetation. I saw, recently, a roadside hedge half destroyed by the scrapings heaped on the bank by road cleaners. It is a nice question whether local authorities may not be liable for damages in such cases. One long stretch of road very familiar to me is an object lesson in the need of road regulation. Long stretches of the hedges on either side were burnt out by sparks from steam lorries. Other lorries I saw bogged at the roadside. They were so heavy that they broke through the tarred surface at the road edge, to their own discomfort and the utter ruin of the road. These beautiful hedgerows are indeed in a bad way if the refuse from the road, which once manured them, now poisons them, and at the dry season they must endure a shower of sparks And for some reason rather difficult to understand roadside hedges have usually been peculiarly attractive both to birds and butterflies. One of the burnt bits I have referred to was the surest " find " for a yellowhammer's nest and for several rarer butterflies, especially the Painted Lady.