No more ‘T’ in the pipeline for Balado

Revellers will be heading for Balado for the last time this summer
Revellers will be heading for Balado for the last time this summer

Residents of Kinross-shire are preparing for the annual invasion of T in the Park fans for the last time before the event moves to its new site 20 miles away.

It’s been confirmed that next year the festival is to move to Strathallan Castle, near Auchterarder, after 17 years at Balado, just outside Kinross.

The decision to re-locate was prompted by safety fears over a BP Forties pipeline that runs from the North Sea to a processing plant near Grangemouth and passes under a field next to the current site.

But according to one Kinross-shire councillor, the Health and Safety Executive has exaggerated the risk.

“From my understanding of the situation, the departure of T in the Park from Kinross-shire is wholly attributable to the efforts of Health and Safety, a burgeoning industry which seems omnipotent and unstoppable,” said Councillor Joe Giacopazzi.

“The event is being moved because of the ‘danger’ posed by the proximity of a pipeline which has continued to convey oil under the ground of Kinross-shire since the 70s, without incident or drama.”

Around 85,000 people are expected to head for Kinross-shire over the weekend of July 11-13 to see stars such as Pharrell Williams, the Arctic Monkeys and the Human League.

It’s reckoned the festival will bring in around £7m to the local economy - but not everyone will be sad to see it go.

Cllr Giacopazzi said: “While there will be an inevitable economic loss to our county, this will be welcomed by a number of our residents who have long seen the event as a disruption to their lives.”

T in the Park moved to Balado in 1997, having outgrown its original site at Strathclyde Country Park in Lanarkshire.

This year it will celebrate its 20th anniversary and has grown to become Scotland’s largest music festival.

The inaugural event attracted around 2000 people, but with increasing numbers attending each year, the Health and Safety Executive’s concerns over the safety of the pipeline have intensified.

They fear an accident at the pipeline could cause a large number of casualties and even result in people receiving a dangerous dose of thermal radiation.

Festival organisers DF Concerts last year denied rumours that the festival was to leave Balado but said they were considering re-designing the site to avoid the pipeline.

However after months of speculation it was confirmed on Wednesday that the festival will move to the 1000-acre Strathallan Estate, which boss Geoff Ellis described as ‘one of the most beautiful festival sites in the UK.’

Meanwhile Perth and Kinross Council’s licensing board was due to meet yesterday (Thursday) to discuss policing arrangements for this year’s event.