Outdoor event organisers have been urged to consider the impact of their events on local wildlife, as T in the Park faces possible cancellation after an osprey nest was discovered close to its site.
Access has learned that a meeting is expected ‘sometime in May’ to decide the fate of the Scottish festival, whose line-up includes The Prodigy, Kasabian, The Libertines and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.
The festival’s 2015 edition was cast into doubt after a flock of ospreys returned to the proposed site of the T in the Park festival at Strathallan Castle in April. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has said it will object to the staging of T in the Park at Strathallan Estate unless strict conditions are imposed to protect nesting ospreys. The organisation has set out 14 conditions under the wildlife and countryside act.
The festival’s Slam Tent, home to its main electronic dance music acts, and the ferris wheel must be at least 1640ft (500m) away from the nest and all festival staff and work sites must not come within 1640ft of the nest until mid-June, when the buffer zone is reduced to 820ft (250m).
Festival organisers DF Concerts had hoped the ospreys would settle at a new nest further away from the festival site, but now accept that the nest is ‘active’.
A spokesperson for RSPB Scotland told Access that organisers are complying with the guidelines, but stressed that wildlife protection should be a priority for any outdoor event organiser.
“It’s a nest that has been in place for four years, but the birds decided to use again. The nest is active and the birds are building it up again, with fish being gathered. DF must prove they can mitigate the risks. The nest is about 100 metres from the main stage.
“It’s vital that outdoor event organisers consult the right agencies before an event. In this case, the Scottish National Heritage and SEPA. It’s a good idea to get a representative on site to give sound advice and local knowledge. We do not object to the festival going ahead but put forward various conditions and regulations to proceed.”
Whether the festival will go ahead is yet to be determined, and it is still the subject of a live planning application. However, RSPB Scotland will continue to work with all parties to see if any contingencies might be available to allow the event to proceed and for the birds to be given the required space and freedom they require so they will enjoy a successful breeding season.
The RSPB concluded: “If the birds do settle and nest here it doesn’t necessarily preclude T in the Park happening, but it does make it much more challenging to accommodate without risk of causing a disturbance to the birds.”
2012 – Agreement that T in the Park would leave Balado due to its proximity to a pipeline. Official search for a new site begins and continues for two years
July 2014 – Announcement in July that the preferred option is Strathallan Castle and initial screenings suggest that DF Concerts can operate under the normal festivals rule of Permitted Development and a public entertainment licence
September 2014 – Discovery of osprey onsite at Strathallan Castle means that the criteria changes and DF must submit a planning application and an environmental statement
November 2014 – First Official Public consultation period begins for the pre-application
January 2015 – Application lodged and a 28-day consultation process follows
24 February 2015 – Public consultation closes with 523 comments – 240 in support of the plan, 274 opposed to it and nine neutral. A postcode breakdown showed that the majority of the supporters were from the local area and the majority of the objectors were not
6 March 2015 – The council finish going through the comments and ask DF to supply some additional information – mainly in relation to extra traffic info and wildlife mitigation
25 March 2015 – Additional information is lodged on the planning portal and public consultation opens on the additional info.
24 April 2015 – consultation closes at 00.01
May 2015 – decision date TBC