RSPB Scotland sets strict criteria for T in the Park festival

Ospreys are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and cannot be disturbed at their nest sites. Photo: Andreas Trepte (commons.wikimedia.org).
Ospreys are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and cannot be disturbed at their nest sites. Photo: Andreas Trepte (commons.wikimedia.org).
RSPB Scotland says that the T in the Park festival being held at Strathallan Castle, Perthshire, this July, can go ahead if it adheres to strict criteria to protect Ospreys.

In its response to Perth and Kinross Council's latest planning application, the wildlife charity made it clear that while it doesn’t oppose the new venue in principle, it does object to the music festival unless a number of strict measures are implemented. This is to ensure that nesting Ospreys next to the proposed site are not disturbed.

The measures include restrictions on the use of fireworks and lighting, and permanent ‘no-go’ buffer zones around the active Osprey nest. These zones would measure 500 m until after mid-June; this covers the period when the birds are likely to lay eggs, incubate them and raise chicks. After this time the zones would reduce to 250 m. At no point should festival goers or T in the Park staff enter these buffer zones.

An 'ornithological clerk of works' – a specialist qualified and experienced bird expert – must also be appointed who will be able to overrule others on site to stop any activities that may cause disturbance. Some T in the Park infrastructure, such as the Slam Tent, big wheel and funfair should also be moved 500 m away from the Osprey nest.

RSPB Scotland is urging Perth and Kinross Council not to grant planning permission for the event without these critically important safeguards being secured. Ospreys are afforded the highest degree of legal protection as a Schedule 1 species, and disturbance of these birds would be an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981). If anyone thinks a disturbance offence has occurred they should contact Police Scotland.

RSPB Scotland Director, Stuart Housden, said: "It is vital that impacts on wildlife are considered at the earliest possible stage when an event or new development is being planned. This reduces the risk to developers of their plans being stopped or delayed, as well as protecting Scotland's wildlife. It is unfortunate that issues are still not fully resolved at T in the Park at this very late stage.

“Today we have set out strict criteria which must be adhered to in order to minimise risk of disturbance to nesting Ospreys. While we acknowledge that DF Concerts has gone some way towards reducing potential disturbance and increasing the chances of success for the birds, the level of risk requires strict conditions and the powers to enforce them. We are objecting to the planning application for the festival unless these are implemented and RSPB Scotland will monitor the situation closely to make sure they are complied with."