Osprey concern over T in the Park site
An environmental assessment of the new TITP site is to be carried out over concerns about nesting ospreys.
The festival, which attracts 85,000 revellers each year, was set to move to Perthshire next July.But today it was revealed that the Scottish Government has stepped in to order an environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the site after local residents raised concerns about nesting ospreys in the area.
This assessment will evaluate the impact the music festival will have on wildlife in the area.
Kim and Mark Liddiard, who own a home on the estate, took legal advice soon after it was announced T in the Park would be moving to the estate.
Their lawyers wrote to Scottish Ministers voicing the couples’ concerns about wildlife, as well as worries that a single track road network around the site would be unable to cope with the volume of traffic at the event.
The festival was forced to move from Balado, Kinross-shire after 18 years after fears were raised over a gas pipeline under the site.
Mrs Liddiard, 56, said she was “delighted” by the decision, and believed a petition set up by residents and signed by 700 people helped push the government to act.
She said: “We very much welcome the news. The petition was very much lobbying the ministers to say ‘come on, do the right thing’.
“Clearly there’s environmental concerns here. The fishing fraternity has been very vocal on the impact this is going to have on the Machany which is seen as a primary spawning river in the country.
“We have four different protected bat species so they would need to be taken into account.
“I don’t think many people will think this is a perfect site for a festival of this size. Maybe by going through a proper environment impact assessment and full planning this will become apparent.”
A spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross Council said: “The council’s stated position on the proposed T in the Park site at Strathallan Castle is that we could not determine the need for planning consent until we received detailed plans.
“The council has never waived the need for a planning application: a definitive position could not be made until more detail was received.
“As such, council officers have therefore responded to the information available to us and advised the event promoters that they would need to either demonstrate that they could erect and take down the site within 28 days or apply for planning consent.
“This position would be superseded by the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
“We have received an indication that the Scottish Ministers have concluded that there are a number of environmental issues relating to the proposed site that will need to be formally investigated by the applicant through the preparation of an EIA.
“As a consequence, we anticipate that the Scottish Ministers are likely to issue a direction that there will be a requirement for an EIA.
“Consequently, a full planning application will also be required that incorporates a transport assessment.
“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.”
A spokeswoman for DF Concerts said: “When we were working on the basis of operating under permitted development, there was no record of any ospreys in the vicinity of the estate.
“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.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Following consideration of the issues, and having taken advice from Scottish Natural Heritage and others, Ministers have directed that an Environmental Impact Assessment 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.
“Ministers recognise the tourism and economic importance of this event and offer to work with the organisers DF Concerts to examine the options and next steps.”