Lasers arrive at Auchnerran

By Dr Dave Parish, Head of Scottish Lowland Research Project

It was a cold, blustery couple of days at Auchnerran this week when staff were trained in how to use the lasers that will be used in the new EU-LIFE funded Laser Fence project.

Led by Dr Alex Mason of Liverpool John Moores University who also kindly joined us for the two-day session, with partners in Spain, we will see whether lasers that currently are very effective bird scarers can be used in a similar fashion on mammals.

Auchnerran LasersStaff and neighbours discussing the Laser Fence project at Auchnerran this week,
with one of the Agrilaser Autonomic devices on display

Joep Everaers from the manufacturers, Bird Control Group, was on hand to lead us through the protocols, including the vital health and safety requirements. The lasers are not dangerous, but direct exposure of the eye to the beam would be damaging, so it is vital that the lasers are never pointed into the sky where they could dazzle pilots, or into any public areas like roads and houses.

After the morning training session, we hosted a number of our neighbours over lunch to explain what we plan to do, so they are not surprised by the nighttime light shows soon to start across the farm!

The project was positively received with everyone keen to hear all about it and impressed by the demonstration where Joep easily displaced a large flock of thrushes with one of the hand-held devices. Hopefully rabbits will be as obliging…

We hope to have the first trials up and running within the next month or so. These will be targeting a variety of predatory species that form the suite of potential nest predators of our breeding waders. Then we will be testing the technology on rats, rabbits, sheep and deer.

These first trials are a test of principle; so, do the lasers scare-off these target species or not? Thereafter, assuming a positive result, we will explore the practical applications of this technique.

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Laser Safety

at 9:21 on 23/11/2016 by Rob - GWCT

The laser technology we're using on the farm has been developed with safety in mind. The manufacturers have applied a combination of highly precise optics, filtering and light frequencies to achieve exceptional performance in bird repelling while maintaining safety for both humans and birds.

Laser fence trial

at 23:03 on 22/11/2016 by Keith Cowieson

Fascinating project Dave, and entirely in keeping with the GWCT's pioneering ethos in seeking innovative solutions to current and potential challenges. Good luck with the trial, and look forward to reading more about trial progress next year.


at 21:02 on 22/11/2016 by Major Reg Hanbury

While serving, I was the Secretary of the MOD International Military Laser Safety Committee. We had Scientists and Military from all three services from the UK and USA.. Our main concern was to ensure that no one blinded themselves or others ie the Laser Operator to wear Laser goggles and not to point the Laser at a friend.


at 17:46 on 22/11/2016 by Robert Thomas

We know lasers can seiously damage the human eye; are you sure that they will not damage animals and birds similarly ?


at 12:40 on 22/11/2016 by Martyn Murray

As you will be aware, people are free to roam the countryside in Scotland and some may wish to sit or lie down to enjoy the air on a warm evening. What are the health and safety implications in deployment of laser scare devices?

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