Gas gun use criticised

By Rodney Woods

While some farmers use netting to protect their crops from hail damage, an Orrvale shift worker is concerned with the times of day orchardists in the area are using scare guns as an alternative to netting.

“My main concern is they are starting before 6.30 am, including weekends,” Michelle Densworth said.

“People are being woken by them.

“Personally, being a shift worker with erratic sleeping patterns from work, I would like to sleep in when I'm not starting at 4.30 in the morning.

“Sometimes they are continually going off until 10 at night, so going to bed early can sometimes be impossible.

“The other concern is the dog becomes anxious when they continually go off.”

Ms Densworth said she had tried to contact Greater Shepparton City Council, who allegedly said the residents would need to figure out themselves who was not following the laws.

Greater Shepparton City Council guidelines say a scare gun must not be used if the distance between the scaregun and any complainant's house is less than 300 m, the scare gun must not emit more than 70 blasts/day, they must not be used earlier than 7 am or later than sunset.

However, earlier starting times will be allowed if this is agreed to by the neighbours/local residents.

The total time of operation of a scare gun must not exceed 12 hours in any one day.

However, the time of operation may be divided into two separate periods, provided the interval between blasts is not less than six minutes.

They must be located as far away as possible from any neighbouring houses and wherever possible, the shielding effects of natural features, buildings and so on shall be used to reduce the level of the blasts at complainants’ houses and the use of the scare gun shall be minimised, wherever possible.

“Gas gun complaints in relation to commercial, industrial and farming properties are dealt with by the Environment Protection Authority under their legislation,” a Greater Shepparton Council statement said.

“Council’s Local Laws department deals with gas gun complaints only where they relate to a residential property.

“These are rare, however, and in these cases, council uses the EPA legislation and the EPA’s residential noise guidelines to manage the complaint.”

A Moira Shire Council spokesperson said permission for scare guns must be obtained from DELWP.