Sir, – In The Scottish Farmer, April 27, you referred to the countryside being treated like a playground by the public. This seems to be happening everywhere, as the attitude of 'I will do what I like' is fast taking over.

A minor public road runs through our farm. The litter which is deposited from cars on this road is steadily increasing. A few months ago, we put up signs asking people not to drop their litter.

This has had no effect at all and if anything the situation has worsened since the signs went up. The fact that a substantial amount of the litter relates to takeaways and a well-known burger chain in particular, whose nearest outlet is in Galashiels, some six miles away, should not be regarded as an excuse for this litter because it does not land on the roadside by chance – it is thrown there by mindless people.

Nevertheless, as this problem escalates throughout the country and turns our countryside into a growing refuse tip, the government should consider making the sellers of coffee and takeaways charge an additional amount for providing mugs and packaging.

It would not be difficult for people to take their own mugs when they want to buy a cup of coffee for example. By making the cup or container an additional cost if purchased with the product, it could save the countryside from being polluted with millions of discarded cups and containers.

As for Chris Packham, also referred to in your editorial, the consequences of his and Natural England’s actions do not bear contemplating as they could lead to the unnecessary deaths of huge numbers of farm and songbirds south of the Border as a result of increased predation.

Over the last 50 years the numbers of our farmland birds have more than halved, while the populations of bird species that kill and eat both them and their eggs, have more than doubled, such as crows and magpies, as well as those of other species , such as cats and grey squirrels.

This is no coincidence. Modern farming methods cannot be blamed for this statistic as scientific studies have shown that legal control of such predators can double farmland bird populations and deliver even more in the case of ground nesting birds such as curlew and lapwing.

Colin Strang Steel

Trustee SongBird Survival,