Europe wants to replace poisons with laser fences

Thursday, 27 October, 2016

Europe wants to replace poisons with laser fences

The European Commission is moving towards the elimination of rodenticide use by funding a project to develop a laser fence to protect crops against unwanted animals.

Every year, European farmers lose billions of euros as a result of birds and other animals that eat and destroy crops. Chemical poisons are often used to control these pests; however, chemicals can accumulate in the food chain, with health implications for humans and animals.

With a time span of three years and a budget just over €3 million, the developers of the LIFE Laser Fence aim to eliminate rodenticide use, decrease crop losses by half and create awareness for the negative effects of chemicals and their impacts on the environment in Europe. The project will be developed and tested as part of the LIFE EU program.

The project is a collaboration between six partners: Liverpool John Moores University; Bird Control Group; global olive, rice and food industry company Angel Camacho and its farming companies Cuarterola, Cucanoche and Eoloarroz; UK charity Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust; Spanish company IRIS UAV Services, known for its animal detection capabilities via drones; and Volterra Ecosystems, a Spain-based company that restores degraded areas into healthy soils.

Dr Alex Mason, who specialises in the development and characterisation of sensor technologies at Liverpool John Moores University is the project leader of LIFE Laser Fence, has created a laser laboratory for the project. “Here we can experiment with new techniques and test on a larger scale for even more potential,” said Mason.

Bird Control Group manufactures the laser technology for the LIFE Laser Fence.

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