Tayside and Central Scotland

T in the Park 'may not carry on' if site turned down, says chief

Strathallan Castle Image copyright William Starkey

T in the Park may not carry on if it does not go ahead at the proposed new site at Strathallan Castle in Perthshire, according to its chief.

Geoff Ellis, of DF Concerts, told the BBC Strathallan was the "right venue".

But he added that he did not think the festival could continue if it did not go ahead at the site this year.

There has been vocal opposition to the site on environmental grounds, compounded by the recent arrival of ospreys, which are protected.

With just three months to go, Perth and Kinross Council has yet to make a final decision on whether to allow the festival.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that ospreys had returned to nest at the proposed site, with festival organisers and RSPB Scotland pledging to work together to safeguard the birds.

Image copyright Zazie Mackintosh
Image caption Video footage from the site appears to show a bird nesting in a tree

Ospreys are a protected species and cannot be disturbed while nesting. Police were called to the site on Monday and are monitoring the situation.

However, some local people and nature organisations such as the Woodland Trust have objected to the site more widely, citing risks to the local ecosystem.

Woodland

Mr Elllis was asked on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme whether the festival would continue if it did not take place at Strathallan.

He said: "I don't think there is a venue, without going very far north in Scotland, which would be viable for T in the Park, so yes, I don't think it would carry on if we didn't host it at Strathallan this year."

Mr Ellis added that "Scotland needs T in the Park", pointing out that it generated more than £15m for the economy last year.

However, on the same programme, Charles Dundas, of the Woodland Trust Scotland, said "irreplaceable" ancient woodland could be lost if the festival goes ahead at Strathallan, adding that festival organisers had not done enough to satisfy them that nature would be protected.

T in the Park organisers dispute that the woodland concerned is ancient, and said they were doing everything they could to mitigate any environmental risks across the site.

Image caption Nature groups have raised concerns about the impact the festival could have on the local ecosystem

Tickets have already been sold for the festival, planned for 10-12 July and set to feature bands including The Libertines, Kasabian and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.

T in the Park was held at Balado, near Kinross, from 1997 until last year, when it was forced to move after "substantial" concerns were raised by health and safety inspectors about an oil pipeline which runs underneath the site.

Up to 85,000 revellers have attended each day of the festival in recent years.

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