Friday 3 October 2014

Electric fence at the orchard

We're planning to install an electric fence at the orchard during the next two weeks. It will be positioned outside of the recently laid hedge on the field side of the orchard. The wire fence at the road side will not be electrified. The fence will be of a semi-permanent construction running for approximately 100 metres, with wooden posts spaced at 10-15 metres. There will be  temporary green plastic push-in posts supporting the wire between the wooden posts. Once the hedge has grown strong enough to repel browsing farm animals the fence will be removed.

The fence will be built using five strands of galvanised braided wire (1.6 mm) and a top strand of white poly-electric fence rope. The fence design is is aimed to prevent sheep from damaging the hedge or the fruit trees in the orchard. They did a lot of damage last winter.

The fence will have a powerful charge capable of penetrating the insulating wool of the sheep, probably in the region of 8000V. It is about twice the power needed for a electric fence configured for horses/cows. While the charge on the fence is not dangerous it would be very unpleasant for you if you touch the fence and get a shock. It would be similarly unpleasant for a dog.

We'll be labelling the fence according to the regulations. It will be possible to access it from the public footpath if you wander off the path and trespass into the farmer's field. However it will not affect access to the public path.

The legislation sets out specific safety regulations which must be adhered to.  These are as follows:
  • Every electric fence must carry a suitable warning sign:
    • The sign should have the size of at least 100mm x 200mm.
    • It is recommended that the basic colour of the sign be yellow with black inscription and should use the words "ELECTRIC FENCE".
    • The inscription shall be permanent, inscribed on both sides and have a height of at least 25mm.
  • An electric fence when installed in such a position that members of the public might reasonably be expected to touch it, such as along a public road or highway or as a boundary fence, should be identified by a number of warning signs (as explained above) which must be clamped to the fence wires at intervals recommended to be of approximately 10m to 50m, but not exceeding 90m.
  • A clear warning notice should also be fitted at every point where persons may have ready access to the electric wires, rope or tape. The notice should bear the words 'LIVE WIRES' in block letters not less than 13mm high, the letters should be red on a white background and the size of each notice should be not less than 62mm x 50mm overall.

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