Presence of protected species in new Strathallan site could be problematic
T In The Park‘s organisers have assured ticketholders that the long-running Scottish festival will go ahead in its new home at Strathallan Castle, despite reports that the presence of a protected species of bird might put the event at risk.
A video has emerged that allegedly shows ospreys attempting to nest within the bounds of the proposed Perthshire site. Ospreys are a protected species and cannot, by law, be disturbed while nesting.
Consultations over a planning application to host the music festival at the new site are still ongoing, and a decision will be reached in May. The proposal to use the picturesque site has met with some resistance from locals, but the organisers and RSPB have pledged to work together to protect some occasional, feathered residents, according to BBC News.
Organisers DF Concerts had, in recent weeks, been trying to encourage the migratory birds to use a new nesting site on a more secluded part of the estate. They erected a cherry picker, a saltire flag and a balloon near an old nesting site to dissuade the birds from returning to it.
The new video, passed by pressure group Strathallan T Action Group to RSPB Scotland, purportedly shows an osprey attempting to return to the old nest. After reviewing the footage, RSPB Scotland called police to the estate on Monday (April 6).
The charity says that if the video is legitimate, the nest is active and the cherry picker must be removed in accordance with legislation protecting the species.
A spokesperson told The Courier: “We were sent some video footage showing an osprey landing at the old nest at the Strathallan Castle estate. We have no means of authenticating it, but neither do we doubt that it is legitimate. If this is the case, the nest becomes active and the cherry picker must be removed as it is an offence to cause a disturbance at the nest under wildlife legislation as it is a protected species.
“As a result, we have contacted the police to have the cherry picker removed, so they are aware of it. As the nest is close to the planned site of the festival there are risks of it being disturbed. T in the Park will have to revise their plans because of this.”
A DF Concerts spokesperson said that their expert advisors indicate that the rare birds had not yet nested.
The spokesperson said: “We can confirm that ospreys have returned to Strathallan, but the expert opinion of our ornithologist is that they have not yet nested. The RSPB believes that the previous nest is active and as such, close monitoring via the cherry picker has been removed and we will continue to liaise with the relevant organisations to ensure the protection of the birds.”
“In the meantime, we’d also like to assure fans that the festival will go ahead. The decision on our planning application will still be made in May and we remain confident that the event will take place at Strathallan.”
T In The Park first took place in 1994 at Strathclyde Country Park near Motherwell, and relocated to Balado near Kinross three years later, remaining there until 2014. The move to Strathallan Castle comes following safety concerns about the Forties North Sea oil pipeline, which runs over part of the Balado site.
Organiser Geoff Ellis has said that the festival will have a more “boutique” feel this year, despite retaining its 85,000 attendance. “It’ll have more of a boutique feel I suppose,” said Ellis. “It’ll be a little bit like Glastonbury where you can go to Shangri-La and not spend any time anywhere else. There are lots of mature trees, a castle, tree-lined avenues. It’ll be a voyage of discovery for those going.”