One of the most disturbing features of the modern world is the indiscriminate use of chemical poisons in the natural world as highlighted by Rachel Carson in her highly acclaimed book 'Silent Spring' published in 1962.

Nevertheless, this practice is still widespread and still goes on around Kendal on public land.

In last week’s Gazette we read in two places of ongoing herbicide use: on page 22 at Ribblehead Viaduct and on page 23 along the A590.

In the former case the problem is said to be “common grassland and heathland species” (doubtless a major threat to the massive structure) and for which a “suitable herbicide” would be applied to banish it and prevent regrowth.

In the second case, lanes would be closed for “grass cutting, weed spraying and litter removal works…” even though we have been told that Cumbria County Council, after public representations, had decided not to cut the verges until later in the summer.

The population is divided into those who need to tame nature and attempt to make the countryside like a city park – probably the majority.

Last year this group was represented by a letter in the Gazette of June 20 entitled “Canal weeds need cutting” by a Mr Frank Sanderson who was outraged by the rich collection of wild flowers along the canal bank: sedges, meadowsweet, knapweed, wild raspberries, etc.

Further letters bemoaned the lack of mowing of churchyards which it was felt was disrespectful to the dead.

The others rejoice in Nature’s fecundity and will only interfere if absolutely necessary.

They are happy to think of grass and wildflowers covering their graves rather than impeccably manicured turf, cut frequently by a noisy, stinking machine.

Some years ago a elderly lady nurtured self-sown flowers on Rosemary Hill (Fellside). It was delightful.

However, some official decided it should be “tidied up” and blasted the plants with herbicide.

Subsequently, there has been only bare earth: the untidy, threatening vegetation has been banished.

This is just one of countless examples around Kendal of the war on living things, including trees, with knock-on effects to birds and insects.

Kent Brooks