Oh mow, it's rent-a-goat time

PUBLISHED: 12:17 05 May 2006 | UPDATED: 21:51 28 May 2010

I m a great believer in taking action to reduce global warming. We should all do our bit; make our own personal sacrifices in the interests of mankind and its future. Shouldn t we? And that, of course, must include gardeners, who, it seems, are causing a

I'm a great believer in taking action to reduce global warming.

We should all do our bit; make our own personal sacrifices in the interests of mankind and its future. Shouldn't we?

And that, of course, must include gardeners, who, it seems, are causing a lot of damage to the ozone layer . . . with their petrol lawn mowers.

At the weekend the Green Party announced that petrol-powered mowers produce almost 10 times more pollution than modern cars.

A party spokesman was presumably serious when he said the public were making a contribution with low-energy light bulbs and by ensuring electric appliances are not left on stand-by, but that this contributions is insignificant when compared with emissions from petrol mowers.

According to the ever-practical Greens, gardeners should allow lawns to become more overgrown, and bring in animals to graze on them; and if that's not an option use human-powered lawn mowers or scythes.

I can imagine that, as you are reading this, several canny Fenmen, and women, are already trying to set up their own rent-a-goat business for the Fens.

It could work most efficiently. The grass is getting a bit long. Call the local rent-a-goat centre. The centre delivers a goat within 24 hours. Fetches it back when the job's done. Charges you a daily rate for the job.

It sounds as if nothing could be simpler, but I have to confess I'm a bit apprehensive about transporting the goats to their work stations. Using vehicles would run counter to the aims of the environmentally-friendly rent-a-goat initiative. So drovers would have to be employed.

An important issue here is the much-needed extra employment that would be created in the Fens, and the rest of the country, not just by the teams of drovers, but by the extra vets needed, plus their support staff.

We would also need extra street cleaners to collect the goat excrement, which could be sold to gardeners to make them feel even greener.

Use of scythes should be discouraged, however, unless the health authority pledges to provide specialist hospital services to deal with severed feet and legs.

I expect the EU bureaucrats to insist that the British Government employs a nationwide inspection team to ensure the rent-a-goat scheme operates efficiently - thus giving a whole new meaning to the concept of the nanny state.

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