T Party to Save the Planet; Exclusive T in the Park Rocks Perthshire for 48 Hours Every Year, but Organisers Are Aware of the Environmental Impact and Take Their Responsibility Seriously
Byline: By John Dingwall
IT'S already known as the friendly festival, and now T in the Park also wants to become the most environmentally-friendly festival on the music calendar.
The Balado site that hosts Scotland's largest and best music weekender borders Loch Leven, which Scottish Natural Heritage has designated as a Site of Specific Scientific Interest due to its flora, fauna, geological and physiographical features.
And the proximity of the loch to the site is one of the reasons T in the Park CEO Geoff Ellis wants the festival to lead the way in turning Scotland into the most environmentally-friendly country in the UK.
Geoff admitted: "A lot of people probably don't realise that Loch Leven is a site of environmental interest.
"We've had to take all the waste water offsite and not allow any phosphates into the ground.
"We've also had to be aware of green issues as part of the licensing conditions because of the location of the site.
"But with the way things have been going with the planet, we felt we needed to do our bit and raise awareness of what people need to do to slow down the effects of climate change.
"People often think they can't contribute but collective action does mean a lot.
"Along with Tennent's, we realised we had a responsibility.
Having been voted Best UK Festival over the last two years, we felt we should lead the way and commit to going carbon neutral."
That commitment was reached last year. Now Geoff and George Kyle, head of sponsorship for Tennent's, want to see T in the Park's massive audience buy into the Global Cool message that the planet will suffer irrevocable damage unless we start to reduce our carbon footprint.
"We want to reduce CO2 emissions as much as we can," said Geoff. "Over the next three years we will have significantly reduced emissions. We are talking to all of our contractors to encourage them to have environmental policies.
"Other festivals are looking to see what they can do. There is a will among major event organisers to do something for the long-term benefit of the planet.
"We're not going to achieve everything in one year but we're recycling all waste material.
"Last year, a Perth & Kinross Council study showed that at T in the Park, we recycled 45 per cent of the waste.
"We have disposable cups and food cartons. And I am talking to concessionaires about using biodegradable cups.
Recyclable beer cups have also been introduced.
"We encourage people to travel on buses, which is better for the environment. We have an extensive bus service to T in the Park and people travelling from further afield can still get on the buses from major cities.
"We also encourage car sharing. We're looking at using bio-fuels and talking to the power suppliers to look at bio-diversity and greener options.
Three-quarters of our audience stay on the campsite and there are a lot of torch and Walkman batteries to go through.
"We have a battery recycling structure on the campsite run by Duracell, which enables used batteries to be disposed of in the proper manner."
George has been instrumental in making T in the Park Britain's most environmentally-friendly festival.
"We were delighted to take up the concept of a carbon neutral event last year," he explained.
"That was a major commitment, but is not the end of the journey.
"Last year we looked at making the festival carbon neutral. Now we can continue the trend.
"Before we had plastic flexicups which were not biodegradable.
Last year people had to collect those for recycling and that has been very successful. We also have biodegradable cups which degrade without damaging the footprint of the festival itself.
"There is a personal responsibility. People who go to T in the Park see it as their event and the message is about looking after T when you are there. …