Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

MUCH of the comment surrounding needless and nannying pieces of legislation revolves around central government. But are any of the little units of government - the parish councils, the borough councils - any better? It would seem not. To misquote Lord Acton, parochial power corrupts parochially.

The tyranny of orders issued in the wake of the foot-and-mouth outbreak has been commented on in this column before, since when their horrific effects on those trying to make an honest penny in the tourist industry have become obvious. Happily, many of the most harmful and most unnecessary orders have now been lifted. Most counties, for example, have reopened either all or a large part of their footpath and bridleway networks - in the light of evidence from government vets that the risks of users spreading foot-- and-mouth are negligible.

An exception, though, is Lincolnshire, which, in spite of lying well away from the foot-and-mouth outbreaks, and in spite of having few animals in its largely arable farms, is still threatening anyone who strays on to 88 per cent of its footpaths with L5,000 fines. …

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