Stress levels among badgers would soar if a dance music festival in Angus gets the go-ahead, a conservation charity has claimed.
Scottish Badgers has warned that the Festival of House, which is due to be held at the Panmure Estate, near Carnoustie, would cause “irreversible harm” to the ecosystem.
The group said the two-day festival would cause an unacceptable negative impact on badgers and their setts which are located next to the proposed site.
Scottish Badgers secretary Dr Ellie Stirling said studies had shown low sound frequencies could more than treble badgers’ stress levels.
She said: “There are active badger setts immediately adjacent to the proposed site, which will be disturbed by any such event and which might also become targets for badger baiters if their whereabouts become obvious.
“Extremely high levels of noise, vibration and human scent would trigger stress with untested and unknown consequences.
The charity describes the estate as an “oasis of undisturbed natural heritage” which is also home to otters, red squirrels, bats and Scottish crossbill. Osprey and white-tailed eagles have also been sighted in the area.
The Festival of House is due to take place on June 10 and 11 and boasts headline acts Underworld, Disclosure and Leftfield. It will apply for a licence for the event from Angus Council in the coming weeks.
The festival’s organisers have employed environmental consultancy group Wild Surveys in preparing for the festival and provided a response to the claims from Scottish Badgers by ecologist Steven Gregory.
He said: “All site staff will receive a toolbox talk setting out their legal responsibilities regarding badgers on site as part of their site induction.
“Wild Surveys Ltd will recommend that public access is managed in a manner which will not allow the public to access areas containing badger setts.”
He acknowledged that the areas in which badgers could forage would be disrupted, but noted that agricultural and forestry activities also disrupt foraging and badgers “adapt to this”.
He noted that T in the Park was held at Strathclyde Country Park in Lanarkshire from 1994 to 1996 and it continues to be an area with active badgers.
He added that Scottish Badgers had refused to enter into discussions regarding mitigation measures for the badgers earlier this month.
Scottish Badgers responded it wouldn’t be appropriate for the group to become involved in direct discussion or negotiations with a consultant.
The group has come to the conclusion that no measures could adequately mitigate the risks to the badgers and setts, or prevent habitat degradation.