Councillor reported to ethics watchdog over osprey remark


A COUNCILLOR has been reported to Scotland’s ethical standards watchdog – for making an “offensive” remark about ospreys.

Tom Gray has apologised and is facing calls for his resignation after speaking in defence of T in the Park’s controversial move to a new site at Strathallan Castle.

The music festival faced being cancelled at the time because a pair of ospreys were nesting on the site.

Cllr Gray told the meeting of Perth and Kinross Council on May 12 at which permission was given: “I don’t know a single osprey to have topped itself because it had to move its nest.”

The rare sea birds have been mating at the T in the Park site
The rare sea birds have been mating at the T in the Park site


The SNP politician also claimed that concern for the ospreys at the Perthshire estate had become “more powerful” than the 85,000 music fans expected to attend T in the Park.

His remarks caused outrage, with one protester starting an online petition condemning Cllr Gray for his “Draconian and frivolous views” and calling for his resignation.

Strathallan T Action Group, which opposed the new home for the festival, has now reported Mr Gray to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.

A fellow councillor, Alexander Stewart, joined the chorus of calls for his resignation, saying that he would be asking the council leader Ian Millar to “ensure that Councillor Gray resigns immediately”.

Cllr Stewart indicated that if Mr Millar refused he would table a vote of no confidence against Mr Gray at the next full council meeting on July 1.

Mr Gray apologised for his “offensive” remarks but indicated that he had no plans to resign.

He said: “Regarding comments made by myself having seconded the TiTP paper, I acknowledge the offensive nature of the remark made with reference to any unfortunate bird which has abandoned its nest, deeply regret that I had made such remark and apologise for doing so.

“Other than to express concern that some would prefer to ignore the context in which some of the comments were made, at this time, I have no further comment to make in the matter.”

Cllr Stewart said that he and other council members were “deeply disappointed that Councillor Gray does not think it appropriate that he should resign”.

He added: “The comments Councillor Gray made in seconding the motion to grant the application for T in the Park were deemed to have been so inappropriate that his colleague, Councillor John Kellas, the proposer of the motion, publically asked to be disassociated from them.

“The remarks made by the convener have given offence to many people, including those who made representations to the committee. We cannot accept that any elected member, and most importantly a convener, can show discourtesy to those making a valid argument.”

At the meeting councillors unanimously agreed to grant planning permission for T in the Park’s move to the Strathallan estate in spite of ongoing concerns for the rare bird of prey which has taken up residence in the area.