24 FEBRUARY 1950, Page 14

Vain Laws The year has opened with the birth of

several agencies that are meant to benefit the country. The National Parks Bill has received the Royal Assent. The central idea is perhaps a good one ; but it is regarded with dislike, or worse, by a great many countrymen, especially farmers. These " parks " will include villages and farms, as well as woods and heaths ; and cultivators of all sorts are afraid that organised inroads of urban visitors will a great deal more than cancel any good that may result from alleged preservation. The Estate Magazine seems to have fears that insurance will be difficult to arrange within such areas. The long and short of it is that all depends not on the Act but its administration. Much will depend on the wardens. The wardens in bird sanctuaries, such as Scolt Head or Blakeney, have a very difficult task, though the area is comparatively small and difficult of access. A national park may require a bevy of wardens. Another theoretically beneficent step in progress is the recent setting up of River Boards to prevent pollution of our rivers. Will they do anything when, if ever, they are given adequate legal powers? The existing Rivers Pollution Prevention Act seems to have, negatively, encouraged and extended the acts of pollution. For example, in the upper reaches of tzaak Walton's Lea not a stickleback or crayfish, let alone a trout, has been left alive ; and the tidal water of some Scottish rivers smells foul with an oscillating and increasing burden of sewage that never "winds somewhere safe to sea." Was ever such a direct challenge to the Ministry of Health? Perhaps also the Minister ,of Fisheries should sit up and take notice.