Peter Rhodes on a subtitled seaway, mad motorways and putting the countryside message across to townies

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

The what canal?
The what canal?

A reader points out that, according to TV subtitles on the Ever Given incident, the supersize cargo ship was blocking the Sewage Canal.

How do you know when the Government's advertising campaign to make us love “smart” motorways has failed? When people still refer to them as “deaths traps.” And we do.

The latest Highways England promotion, with its “Go left” message adds insult to more than 40 recorded deaths on “smart” stretches.

HE says its “light-hearted” ad is delivering “life saving” information. But turning the hard shoulder into a traffic lane and praying that vehicles will be considerate enough to break down close to a safety refuge, inevitably puts lives at risk.

The smartest thing to do with smart motorways is to scrap them.

Here we go again.

In a field down the road from us, a dog owner is frantically yelling “Come on, girls! Good girls! Come back, girls!”

The girls in question are three big spaniels, ripping through a barley crop a hundred yards from their owner and joyfully, madly out of control. Somewhere in that field, brown hares are trying to raise their young.

If a dog finds their birthing place, it's all over for the leverets. Later in the day a pair of walkers, with a dog off its lead, are strolling through fields along a track clearly and repeatedly marked “private.”

I suggest, politely, that they use the lead. They seem to think it's unnecessary until I point out that these fields are nesting sites for skylarks, and that dogs are death for ground-nesting birds.

By chance, these incidents happened in the week that the Countryside Code was amended for the first time since its creation 70 years ago.

While it urges visitors to stick to footpaths and to bin their dog poo, some wildlife groups say it doesn't go far enough on issues such as lighting barbecues and keeping dogs on leads.

The aim, presumably, in these empathising and non-judgmental times, is to impart information without in any way suggesting that some visitors to the countryside are (now, what is the correct non-judgmental term?) thick.

However, I won't condemn those revellers who celebrated two hot days by leaving their local parks knee-deep in litter.

The official advice is to take your litter home. And then what? People are caught in a pernicious system. Food and drink companies grossly over-wrap their products and local councils provide nowhere near enough rubbish collections.

If your wheelie bin is full by Wednesday, where are you expected to put your picnic wrappings on Thursday? The people littering the parks at least knew their rubbish would be taken away by the council which is more than can be guaranteed if they took it home.

The Glastonbury festivals are run by wealthy landowners for the benefit of mega-rich rock stars, super-rich agents, well-heeled TV executives and middle-class customers. So why are my taxes bailing it out?

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