Record complaints over bird scarers

A record number of complaints about noisy bird scarers has been recorded in south Norfolk this year. The district council's environmental team has been called out 37 times between January and July, compared with 20 incidents during 2007 and 15 the previous year.

A record number of complaints about noisy bird scarers has been recorded in south Norfolk this year.

The district council's environmental team has been called out 37 times between January and July, compared with 20 incidents during 2007 and 15 the previous year. But they found that all the complaints fell within the codes of practice.

However, Amanda Roberts, of Bunwell Hill, near Attleborough, said she dreads having to put up with months of noise disturbance again next year, and plans to launch a petition calling for local authorities to be given greater powers to deal with the problem.

She said: “We were having six or seven bird scarers going off in our area, and in the space of 20 minutes we got 36 shots. It went on for 8 months and we had to leave the property. They were firing at 5am in the morning until 9pm in the evening and we had no relief, and part of the problem is I work from home too so I had to wear ear plugs.


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“Unfortunately, it appears that unless the device is on your doorstep the council are unable to enforce any restrictions due to the week code or practice in place at the moment. South Norfolk told me there has been a huge increase in complaints this year, and it is not just the Bunwell area. I really want something pro-active done before the next lot starts.”

She has also contacted South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon to voice her concerns, adding that she gave a bouquet and thank you card to one local farmer who took action to reduce the noise.

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The council put out a flyer at the Norfolk Show in June, highlighting the record number of complaint in the district and urging farmers and landowners to abide by the NFU's code of practice, to minimise noise disturbance.

Cllr David Bills, Cabinet member for the environment, health, recycling and safety, said: “This is a highly emotive subject. On the one hand we have the plight of farmers whose livelihood depends on their crops. On the other hand there are the rights of the residents to have a peaceful life.

“Farmers have the right to use scarers as long as they do not fall outside the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and as such do not cause a statutory nuisance to others. There has been a code of practice drawn up by the National Farmers Union with guidelines for farmers and landowners on when and where they may be used.

“Our environment team have been called out 37 times to bird scarer complaints this year and they have found that they fall within the codes of practice. As such we are not in a position to pursue these complaints. In the case of Mrs Roberts we have made four visits and none has proven to be outside these guidelines.”

Brian Finnerty, NFU regional spokesman, said 2008 was seen as a bad year for pigeons. “The loss of one per cent of the national oilseed rape would cost about £7.5m, so it is important to protect the crop,. But obviously farmers living in rural areas should be aware of the needs of their neighbours and follow the code of practice,” he said.

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