Wildlife should be on event planners radars

Two ospreys have wreaked havoc by recently nesting near T in the Park’s new site at Strathallan Castle. The Scottish festival got the go-ahead in May, but keeping wildlife safe at outdoor events remains a hot topic

richard limb

Richard Limb, president, NOEA

Recently the perimeter fence at a large concert was realigned to accommodate fledgling kestrels. At an event in the North East, cooling was provided within a church to deal with the resident bats. It is important to risk assess the impact on wildlife; often short-term occupancy of an event can have no significant impact at all. Environmental impact assessments do form part of everyday site design, and of course includes birds and other wildlife. This involves detailed planning and research, and talking to the relevant authorities. It’s common to encounter birds of prey, badgers and the like, and often the situation is resolved by changes to site design or at worst, venue change.

rspb spokesperson

RSPB Scotland, spokesperson

Good planning is critical for avoiding conflicts with wildlife. Early engagement with stakeholders can facilitate the avoidance of sensitive sites and effective consideration of mitigation to reduce impacts. This needs to occur as early as possible in the planning process to enable potential issues to be resolved. In the case of T in the Park, the process was rushed, which led to unsatisfactory last minute changes in response to events. Well-planned events supported by good quality environmental information, including timely survey work, can help avoid wildlife impacts, as well as potential delays or refusal of planning applications.

chris shambala

Chris Johnson, co-founder Shambala Festival

We are fortunate that the estate where Shambala is based is hugely committed to environmental management. Protected or rare species of animals or plantlife require an environmental impact survey and action plan. The Environment Agency oversees and enforces regulations related to waste and pollution. Natural England is responsible for ensuring England’s natural environment is protected and improved. Requirements are normally addressed in the licensing process. A plan may be requested by the landowner with existing obligations, through the licensing process, or as part of direct contact with Natural England, or local bodies fulfilling their remit to protect specific wildlife.