The use of bird scarers is legal and essential for farmers to help protect certain crops, such as oilseed rape and fruit and field vegetables. However, farmers and landowners using bird scarers must make sure they are not causing a statutory nuisance to others and that the scarer is used in line with the Code of Practice produced by the National Farmers Union (NFU).
Advice for the use of bird scarers:
- Only use them where justified.
- They should not sound more than four times per hour.
- They should not be used before sunrise or after sunset (this doesn't mean that scarers used after sunrise in the summer are automatically acceptable)
- They should be positioned carefully to make sure that they are not pointing towards, or too close to, nearby homes.
- They should be properly maintained and checked regularly to detect any faults that could cause complaints.
- Use reflective or absorbent baffles (corrugated iron or straw bales) to concentrate the sound on to a field and away from neighbours wherever nuisance could be caused.
- Position scarers so that they are pointing downwind (where the nuisance is not a problem) - even a slight wind can affect the distance sound travels - and take particular care with devices that swivel with the wind.