A ROW over T in the Park’s move to Strathallan Castle took an extraordinary twist when police were called to the site of an osprey nest.
The currently uninhabited nest could play a key role in deciding whether the festival goes ahead at the proposed site of Strathallan Castle near Auchterarder in Perthshire.
Festival organisers DF Concerts are still awaiting planning permission to stage the huge event, which attracts 85,000 revellers each day.
They have been building a new nest in a bid to attract the large raptors away from the original site, which would allow the festival to go ahead this year.
However, police received a phone call from festival opponents Strathallan T Action Group (STAG) on Wednesday morning after a “suspicious” cherry picker was spotted near the first nest.
STAG, made up of local residents, has accused festival chiefs of staging road maintenance works in order to scare away the protected birds.
However, a spokeswoman for DF Concerts said that the claim was “absurd” and accused the group of wasting police time and money.
Police confirmed that officers responded to reports of a suspicious vehicle on Wednesday but found “no cause for concern”.
The nest, which is currently unoccupied, does not sit on Strathallan Estate but the road next to it does.
It is understood that if the ospreys return to their former home, then a buffer zone of 2,500ft may be required to safeguard it, encroaching significantly on the proposed site.
A STAG spokeswoman said: “Strathallan’s ospreys, Earl and Countess, are due back any day now.
“We are extremely concerned that the estate has chosen this moment to begin their maintenance work and we are suspicious they have chosen this precise section of what is a three-mile-long driveway.
“Why would a cherry picker be being used for road maintenance? Our concern is that this vehicle, which is currently parked very close to the existing nest, may be used either to remove the nest or scare the ospreys away from it, should they return to it.”
A spokeswoman for DF Concerts said: “ This is an absurd accusation. How can we disturb something that is not there?
“We are a responsible company and take the protection of the osprey extremely seriously – which is why our ornithologist, who is a leading expert in his field, is on site every day awaiting the potential return of the birds to ensure their safety.
“Suggestions to the contrary are inaccurate, unhelpful and a total waste of police time and taxpayers’ money.”
Tens of thousands of revellers are expected to attend this year’s T in the Park, which had to be moved away from its previous home at Balado because of safety concerns relating to an underground oil pipeline.
Perth and Kinross Council are expected to make a final decision in May.