Call for T in the Park music festival to relocate osprey nest, but perhaps it should read ‘‘Call for T in the Park to relocate music festival to protect osprey nest’?


CONSERVATIONISTS are calling for T in the Park organisers in Perthshire to take immediate action to relocate an osprey nest at the festival’s new venue before the iconic birds return to breed there in the next couple of weeks

Strathallan Castle Estate in rural Perthshire is home to an abundance of wildlife: Red Squirrels, Otters, Badgers and Bats as well as four Schedule 1 bird species (Ospreys; Kingfishers; Barn Owls; and Red Kites), eight Red Listed species, and 15 Amber Listed species.

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It is also the proposed location for the T in the Park music festival. This event attracts over 90,000 people – the equivalent of the fifth largest city in Scotland. The construction and decommissioning of the festival would take 12 weeks, every year.  In the words of nature writer Jim Crumley: ‘the environmental impact would be colossal, the wildlife would be seriously comprised by (the event’s) massive intrusion.

RSPB Scotland has not objected to the proposals but recommended several measures to protect wildlife on the 1,000-acre Strathallan Castle estate, including a pair of ospreys that have been nesting there for the past five years.

The organisers have agreed to remove the existing osprey eyrie and construct a new one before the ospreys return from Africa to breed.

The procedure is unusual in Scotland but has been carried out successfully in cases where the raptors have set up home too close to near power lines and must be moved for safety reasons.

RSPB Scotland has backed the plan, but insist the work must be completed in the next few days as ospreys have already begun returning to southern parts of the UK and the Strathallan pair are expected to arrive within the next fortnight.

A decision on whether this event will go ahead is not expected until 13 May, but already DFC are employing their ‘pre-emptive mitigation measures’: riverbanks are being netted to stop Kingfishers from nesting; fields are being grazed heavily and so ground nesting birds, like the Skylarks, are being displaced; and the resident Ospreys, Earl and Countess, are being evicted from their nest of five years.

DFC have not completed a breeding bird survey.  Nor have they completed surveys for the Schedule 1 birds.  They have used information provided in the BTO Bird Atlas, but one of the four tetrads (covering the main site arena) registers ‘No data’. Without these surveys, DFC have not been able to design the layout of the festival to properly accommodate the wildlife.  Without these surveys, there is no baseline against which to assess the impact of this event on wildlife over the years.

RSPB, the largest conservation organisation in the UK, must stand up to the extremely wealthy and powerful DFC.  RSPB must object to this proposal to protect this beautiful habitat and all the wildlife therein.  Is this not the very purpose of RSPB?

You can also write directly to RSPB HQ, The Lodge, Potton Rd, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL.

This is how moorland gamekeepers  are legally able to prevent protected raptors from settling to breed  on Red Grouse moorland

Please sign the petition here.

5 comments to Call for T in the Park music festival to relocate osprey nest, but perhaps it should read ‘‘Call for T in the Park to relocate music festival to protect osprey nest’?

  • Keith Cowieson

    Surely the title here is wrong – ‘Call for T in the Park music festival to relocate osprey nest’.

    Shouldn’t it read ‘Call for T in the Park to relocate music festival to protect osprey nest’?

    And that’s before we even start to consider Kingfisher nesting banks being covered over with tarpaulin, disturbance to nesting barn owl, red kite, skylark and other wildlife such as bats, red squirrel and so on.

    It’s all a bit ‘Alice-through-the-Looking-Glass’ in Scottish conservation circles nowadays evidently.

    And Who is the willing dupe who has been suborned to ‘remove the existing osprey eyrie and construct a new one?’

    Words fail me……..

  • Terry Pickford, North West Raptor Protection Group.

    Displacement of nesting birds, in particular schedule 1 raptors like the hen harrier, goshawk and peregrine, is a well known strategy used by gamekeepers to frighten off these species from nesting on or around grouse moors. This is condemned outright, and may be be illegal if a species has begun to build a nest, or taken up residence within a nesting territory. The question is, why is this situation being accepted when inevitably so much disturbance will be caused at the height of the breeding season? This activity will undoubtedly set a precedent for other shooting estates and their raptor hating gamekeepers to follow.

  • Firstly, thank you for posting our video for our petition asking RSPB to reconsider and object to the proposed T in the Park at Strathallan: http://www.change.org/p/rspb-reconsider-your-position-and-object-to-the-proposed-t-in-the-park-at-strathallan-castle-estate-perthshire

    We are still at a loss as to why SNH and RSPB have not objected to this proposal. The Osprey Management Plan, alone, should have been enough for them to say ‘No’.

    The current plan for the ospreys is to build a new nest, approximately 400m from the existing one. We are baffled as to why SNH would allow this, even with favourable topography. Not so long ago, SNH prevented a community in Perth & Kinross from building a footpath along a river because it would be about 125m from an osprey nest. Apparently, a few hundred metres more, and a music festival, and all the associated construction work, is fine.

    DFC’s hope (and the hope of the expert ornithologist involved) is that this new nest will be so appealing to the birds that they will not be interested in their old one which is storm-damaged. (According to this expert, ospreys are ‘fairly lazy’.)

    But there are two problems: firstly that the existing nest is still a very solid structure, despite storm damage, and of course Ospreys are very loyal to their nests (and trees). There is a very real chance the birds will return to their old nest which is why, presumably, RSPB are calling for this nest to be removed. And the second problem is this: DFC cannot yet move the nest.

    If the birds return to their existing nest, the festival layout is such that DFC cannot provide an appropriate buffer to prevent the birds from being disturbed.

    DFC have not given any indication of their plans if the birds do return to their existing nest.

    We are very concerned for the birds’ safety. It may be within the law for DFC to ‘dissuade’ the birds from nesting in their old nest – or anywhere near the site – depending on how they do it. It is the responsibility of DFC to ensure that whatever measures they take are in accordance with the law – no independent body will be monitoring them.

  • nirofo

    The RSPB are just total hypocrites, no doubt there’ll be a few £££ in it for them somewhere. As for SNH, nuff said !!!

    I thought it was against the law to disturb a Schedule One breeding birds nesting site, particularly at this vulnerable time of year when the birds are due to arrive back on territory any time in the next couple of weeks. Obviously it’s very easy for some to turn a blind eye where big business ( read £££££ ) is involved.

  • Terry Pickford

    Once the Osprey pair take up residence at the old nest on this estate to begin their breeding cycle, usually at the beginning of April,it would be illegal without the appropriate licence to move this nest or disturb the birds. Moving the nest after the birds had taken up residence at their old nest would be a recipe for disaster, and without the authorisation licence from SNH it would be illegal anyway.