Conservationists warn festival over badger disruption

Local badgers are being disrupted
Local badgers are being disrupted
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Thumping house music from a summer music festival would casue badgers to become stressed, conservationists warned today.

Animal welfare charity Scottish Badgers is to lodge a formal objection to the granting of consent for the the “Festival of House” at the Panmure Estate near Carnoustie in Angus.

T in the Park has come under fire in the past for disturbing nesting ospreys, with the Angus-based Festival of House accused of greatly impacting on badger setts in the region. Image: Ken Whitcombe.

T in the Park has come under fire in the past for disturbing nesting ospreys, with the Angus-based Festival of House accused of greatly impacting on badger setts in the region. Image: Ken Whitcombe.

The Festival is due to take place on June 10 and 11 and boasts headline acts Underworld, Disclosure and Leftfield. It will apply for a licence for the event from Angus Council in the coming weeks.

In a row that has echoes of the T In The Park row about nesting ospreys, Scottish Badgers say that the Festival of House would cause “irreversible harm” to the ecosystem.

The group said the two-day festival would cause an unacceptable negative impact on badgers and their setts, several of which are located next to the proposed site.

Scottish Badgers secretary Dr Ellie Stirling said studies had shown low sound frequencies and “thumping bass notes” could more than treble badgers’ stress levels.

She said that the festival would disrupt badgers from entering their normal feeding grounds and their young would face the risk of failing to acquire key survival skills.

She said: “There are active badger setts immediately adjacent to the proposed site, which will be disturbed by any such event and which might also become targets for badger baiters if their whereabouts become obvious.

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“Extremely high levels of noise, vibration and human scent would trigger stress with untested and unknown consequences.”

The charity describes the Panmure Estate as an “oasis of undisturbed natural heritage”, also home to red squirrels, bats, otters and Scottish crossbills. Ospreys and white-tailed eagles have been sighted in the area.

The festival’s organisers have employed environmental consultancy group Wild Surveys in preparing for the festival and provided a response to the claims from Scottish Badgers.

Wild Surveys ecologist Steven Gregory said: “All site staff will receive a toolbox talk setting out their legal responsibilities regarding badgers on site as part of their site induction.

“Wild Surveys Ltd will recommend that public access is managed in a manner which will not allow the public to access areas containing badger setts.”

He acknowledged that the areas in which badgers could forage would be disrupted, but noted that agricultural and forestry activities also disrupt foraging and badgers “adapt to this”.

He noted that T in the Park was held at Strathclyde Country Park in Lanarkshire from 1994 to 1996 and it continues to be an area with active badgers.

He added that Scottish Badgers had refused to enter into discussions regarding mitigation measures for the badgers earlier this month.

Scottish Badgers responded it wouldn’t be appropriate for the group to become involved in direct discussion or negotiations with a consultant.

The group said it had come to the conclusion that no measures could adequately mitigate the risks to the badgers and setts, or prevent habitat degradation.

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