Melton Borough Council

Bird scarers and deterrents

The use of auditory bird scarers is a legal and essential approach for farmers to help protect certain crops, such as oilseed rape from wild birds.  However, if used recklessly they can cause a nuisance to the public. In order to prevent this from happening the National Farmers Union (NFU) have issued a code of practice to farmers on the use of such devices.

If farmers comply with the requirements of this guidance and that if they do so, they are unlikely to cause a statutory nuisance.  Such requirements include the following:

  • Liaising with other neighbouring farmers to try and avoid an overlap of machine use in one area.
  • Placing the scarer as far away from residential properties as possible and pointing them in the opposite direction.
  • Avoiding the use of  auditory scarers within 200m of sensitive buildings before 7am
  • Taking note of the prevailing wind when siting scarers.
  • Use of reflective or absorbent baffles (e.g. straw bales) to concentrate the sound onto the field and away from neighbouring properties.
  • Trying not to use auditory scarers on a Sunday

You can download a copy of the NFU Code of practice here:

If you are a farmer or landowner, please register your bird scarer with the Council using the form below

This is only a short form and the information would let us know where they are being used in the borough, so that any issues can be resolved quickly and easily.  Please note that when submitting this form any personal information you give to us is covered by the Environmental Health Privacy Notice

Why do we want farmers to register their bird scarers with us?

It is considered that by complying with the requirements of the NFU code of conduct and registering any audible bird scarers with the Council, farmers are less likely to cause a statutory nuisance.  Failure, however to adopt the principles outlined in the code of practice could be used to demonstrate that an avoidable nuisance was likely to be occurring. Compliance with the code and registration process may demonstrate all reasonably practicable measures have been taken.  The form below will only take a few minutes to complete.

Bird scarer registration form

Reporting a bird scarer nuisance

Bird scarers are not illegal; however they should be used within the accepted guidelines. When dealing with complaints relating to bird scarers, Environmental Health follow the advice contained within the National Farmers Union Bird Scarer Code of Practice. If you’re troubled by a neighbouring bird scarer tell us about it by completing our online noise complaint form. Please try to provide details of the exact location of the scarer and name of the person who is responsible for the land.

Report a noise nuisance

Frequently asked questions