Pipeline concern for T in the Park

image captionThe T in the Park festival has been held at Balado since 1997

A potentially dangerous oil pipeline could force the organisers of T in the Park to relocate the festival.

Part of the festival's site in Balado runs over the Forties Pipeline, which carries North Sea oil to Grangemouth.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said it does not want the festival to continue at the site beyond this year.

Festival organisers DF Concerts said they hoped to redesign the site away from the pipeline.

If that is not possible, it may be forced to move away from Balado.

The company has applied for a one-year extension to its existing layout this summer.

The HSE has raised persistent objections to 85,000 revellers being allowed to party near the major oil pipeline.

An accident could cause "a large number of casualties" and result in people receiving "a dangerous dose of thermal radiation", according to HSE.

But the executive has agreed not to refer their objections to Scottish Ministers this year, provided T in the Park moves from its current site from next year onward.

Papers submitted to Perth and Kinross Council stated: "With the reassurances that have been given at pre-application stage by all parties that events on this site will cease after 2014 and that this is the final year being sought on site, HSE confirm that although they advise against the development, they would not invite Scottish Ministers to call in the application should a recommendation for planning approval on the basis set out above, be referred to Scottish government for clearance.

"It has been made clear by the applicant that they are seeking an alternative site outwith the pipeline consultation zones but unfortunately they have not been able to secure a site to host the event in 2014 at this time, hence the submission of this further application."

'Exclusion zone'

A DF Concerts spokeswoman said: "Throughout the years T in the Park has gone through a meticulous system of planning and safety checks which we have always passed, including this year.

"Nothing has changed in the last few years except HSE protocol. The pipeline remains in the same position as always, which means that it also continues to run underneath schools and Aberdeen airport's runway.

"Over the last couple of years we have complied with the change in HSE protocol by reorienting parts of the site to move away from the exclusion zone.

"Everyone from the Scottish government to the HSE have approved of this and we will continue to shift the site as required and dependent on our needs."

'Informed decision'

Perth and Kinross Council's Development Quality Manager, Nick Brian, said: "The issue of public safety is a serious one. Officers acknowledge that risks to population are a consequence of the continued use of the application site for a music festival."

An HSE spokesman said: "We broadly support the principle of a temporary planning consent for 2014 alone, to complete relocation of the event beyond HSE's consultation zones around the BP Forties pipeline.

"This should enable Perth and Kinross Council to make an informed decision about risks to the public when determining permission.

"HSE has consistently advised Perth and Kinross Council against granting planning permission because in our view the public safety risks it presents mean the site is not suitable for an event of this scale and nature.

"With large numbers of people in close proximity to a major hazard pipeline, our view is that the proposed development raises safety issues of substantial concern.

"However, we must stress any decision on planning permission for T in the Park is for Perth and Kinross Council."

Councillors from Perth and Kinross council will make a decision on the application, which is being recommended for approval.

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