Ospreys could jeopardise Scottish music festival

27th August 2014

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Lucia Collinwood

An environmental impact assessment (EIA) will be carried out at the proposed new site for the annual T in the Park festival in Scotland after concerns were raised about the potential threats to nesting ospreys.

Plans to move the annual music festival to Strathallan Castle, near Geneagles, have been put on hold, following a decision by the Scottish government to order an EIA of the site. The decision follows concerns raised by local residents about the impact that the 85,000 people attending the festival might have on ospreys and other wildlife in the area.

Lawyers representing local residents wrote to Scottish ministers expressing their concerns and 700 people signed a petition against the move, which they say could also affect protected bat species and spawning grounds on the River Machany.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: “Following consideration of the issues, and having taken advice from Scottish Natural Heritage and others, ministers have directed that an EIA is required for the T in the Park event at Strathallan.

“Ministers consider there is likely to be a significant environmental impact, primarily due to the close proximity of nesting osprey and the likelihood that the event will cause disturbance to the birds during the nesting period.

Festival organisers, DF Concerts, were planning to hold the event at Strathallan Castle in 2015 under current permitted development rules, but the government’s decision means that full planning permission may now be required.

A spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross council said: “As this will be a major application, the applicant will be required to lodge a proposal of application notice (PAN) and carry out a three month public consultation before lodging the application.”

But DF Concerts say they will continue with their application to hold the event at Strathallan Castle. “We will naturally need to manage the situation, which we would have done under permitted development anyway. The fact that the Scottish government have decided that full planning permission is required will not change how we operate the event and we are all looking forward to moving to our new home at Strathallan Castle in 2015.”

Josh Fothergill, policy and engagement lead at IEMA said EIAs are an important part of the planning decision process. “As decision support, where substantial debate exists as to whether significant effects are likely to occur to the environment, EIA is the best tool to ensure these issues are effectively explored and integrated into the consenting process.”

T in the Park has been held at Balado park since 1997. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) wants the festival to move from the former airfield because of safety fears. Part of the site runs over the Forties pipeline, which carries North Sea oil south to Grangemouth. HSE Scotland said that, even though the likelihood of any major accident at the pipeline is low, if one were to occur the consequences would be catastrophic.

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