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Rob Edwards
Edinburgh, Scotland
I'm a freelance environmental journalist.
Recent Activity
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from Sunday Herald 21 December 2014 The Scottish opencast coal industry is facing a renewed crisis that could leave communities and landscapes across Scotland devastated, leading politicians and environmentalists are warning. The crisis has already forced the Scottish government to reverse a decision to wind up its opencast coal task force last week, and prompted a bitter political row. The task force, involving governments, councils and trade unions, will now reconvene next year to try... Continue reading
Posted 5 hours ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 21 December 2014 Environmental groups have banded together in a last ditch bid to save rare mushrooms, mosses, orchids, ants and bumblebees from three proposed housing developments in the Cairngorms National Park. Fourteen groups have written to Scottish ministers urging them to block the building of 73 houses in Carrbridge and Nethy Bridge because they will destroy precious wildlife sites. They want the developments to be deleted from the latest version of... Continue reading
Posted 5 hours ago at Rob Edwards
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from New Scientist, 09 December 2014 Barriers to Bioweapons: The challenges of expertise and organization for weapons development by Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley, published by Cornell University Press for $39.95. Unmaking the Bomb: A fissile material approach to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation by Harold A. Feiveson, Alexander Glaser, Zia Mian and Frank N. von Hippel, published by MIT Press for $30/£20.95. It is called Fogbank and it is a type of foam – toxic, explosive and... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 14 December 2014 Nuclear power stations across the UK have been unexpectedly shut down 20 times a year because of faults, cracks, seaweed and other problems, sparking fears that they can’t keep the lights on. An analysis for local authorities says that 15 reactors have had 62 unplanned shutdowns in the last three years. They have been hit by electrical, boiler and valve defects, fires, storms, vibrations and the discovery of tiny... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 14 December 2014 The Queen’s estate at Balmoral in Aberdeenshire has won a nature award from landowners despite the fact that its natural woodland, heaths and bogs have been officially condemned as being in a poor state. Environment and land rights campaigners have slammed the award as a “meaningless public relations stunt”. Called Wildlife Estates Scotland, it was set up by Scottish Land and Estates, which represents landowners. The award was accepted... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 14 December 2014 Landowners have come under fire from the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) for illegally killing birds of prey, culling too many mountain hares and bulldozing too many hill tracks. A new approach to moorland management agreed by the park board on Friday also criticises landowners for erecting fences across hillsides without consulting their neighbours. The fences can harm wildlife, as can the poorly managed burning of heather, the CNPA... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 09 December 2014 The Scottish government has been accused of abandoning wave power after one leading company has been forced into administration and another has had to shed most of its staff. Pelamis, developers of a floating offshore wave energy converter that looks like a large red sea snake, collapsed suddenly into administration on 21 November, with the subsequent loss of 40 jobs. Aquamarine, which is behind a yellow near-shore device known... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 07 December 2014, from Bhopal The former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, put pressure on the Indian government to agree a legal settlement that let the US chemical company, Union Carbide, off the hook for the 25,000 people killed by the toxic gas disaster in Bhopal 30 years ago. A letter released under freedom of information legislation reveals that the late Indian steel magnate, J R D Tata, wrote secretly to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 07 December 2014, from Bhopal It was Sajid’s furry, orange babygrow stretched out inside the black museum case that triggered the agony. Oblivious of the people crowded around, his mother, Bismilla Bee, started shaking with loud sobs, rising and falling, as the painful memories came flooding back. Her son died 30 years ago last week in the babygrow, choking on the poison gas that spewed from Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in Bhopal,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 07 December 2014, from Bhopal The man behind a new blockbuster film launched in India on Friday telling the grim story of the Bhopal toxic gas disaster has taken out multi-million dollar insurance against being sued. Director Ravi Kumar is worried about facing legal action from Dow, the US chemical company that took over Union Carbide, the managers of the pesticide plant that leaked 30 years ago and killed 25,000 people in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 03 December 2014, from Bhopal The campaign for justice for survivors of the world’s worst industrial accident in Bhopal, India, 30 years ago today has been backed by a powerful alliance of trade unions and city councils from Scotland. A delegation of six trade unions, including Unite, Unison and Communication Workers Union, is in Bhopal this week to show their solidarity with the local communities who have been fighting to make the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 30 November 2014 Scottish ministers are coming under urgent pressure from an SNP-led committee of MSPs to end their repeated failure to meet climate targets by making major cuts in pollution from farming, housing and transport. Farmers need to reduce their use of polluting chemical fertilisers, householders should be helped to better insulate old and leaky homes and motorists persuaded to opt for cleaner electric and hybrid cars, MSPs say. In a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 30 November 2014 A leaked plan by the game-shooting lobby to remove pine martens from woodlands around Aviemore in the Highlands has sparked fierce opposition from wildlife groups. The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), a charity funded by landowners, farmers and sporting interests, wants to launch a trial next year to trap and relocate the iconic furry mammals, which are protected under law as an endangered species. But the plan has... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 27 November 2014 The entire House of Lords has been accused of missing the chance to block the UK government’s plan to allow companies to frack for gas under people’s homes without their consent. The Scottish National Party (SNP) has pointed out that an objection from a single peer in the House of Lords could have stymied the government amendment removing the right of property owners to object to drilling under their... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 26 November 2014 A display of 2,000 dead moles near a grouse moor in the Lammermuir Hills in East Lothian has been condemned as “disgustingly Victorian”. The animals’ bodies have been strung up in a long line on a fence through fields south east of Haddington. They were photographed and counted on Sunday (23 November) by a birdwatcher, Geoff Morgan, and posted on Twitter. Landowners, gamekeepers and farmers regard moles as pests... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 23 November 2014 Westminster has agreed a £37 million deal with the US government for a dozen huge new Trident missile launchers more than a year before the UK parliament is due to decide whether the nuclear weapons system should be renewed. The US defence giant, General Dynamics, has been contracted by the US Navy to make 12 launch tubes for a UK submarine that could start to replace those currently on... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 23 November 2014 The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has applied for planning permission for a major new radioactive waste treatment plant at the nuclear submarine base at Faslane on the Clyde. It has told Argyll and Bute Council that the new facility is to treat and dispose of solid and liquid radioactive waste from the reactors that drive submarines. Some of the waste will be discharged into the Gareloch, northwest of Helensburgh.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 16 November 2014 A new coalition of 26 community and environmental groups is today urging the Scottish government to ban fracking for shale gas and drilling for underground coal gas. The groups, led by Concerned Communities of Falkirk (CCoF) and Friends of the Earth Scotland, are demanding “a moratorium on all forms of unconventional gas development in Scotland”. Risks to public health, workers and the environment are “impossible to regulate away”, they... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 16 November 2014 Some of Scotland’s best-known brands have been named and shamed by the government’s green watchdog for their “poor” performances on pollution, the Sunday Herald can reveal. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has fingered the famous food company, Baxters, the beer giant, Tennent Caledonian, and the biscuit-maker, McVities, for breaching pollution limits. Some leading whisky distilleries, including Glenlivet, Macallan and Ardmore, have also come under fire for failing to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 16 November 2014 The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has come under fire for keeping the locations of 87 polluters secret, enabling mistakes to be covered up. In its latest assessment of environmental performances for 2013, it has refused to identify 1,187 water suppliers and 287 sites handling radioactive materials "for reasons of national security". But it has rated 83 of the water suppliers and four of the radioactive sites as “poor”... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 09 November 2014 The wildlife is thousands of years old, there are millions of species that have not yet been discovered and it is by far the biggest space for life on earth. But environmentalists say it is now being destroyed. The world’s deep ocean environment is perhaps the most important and least understood of the planet’s natural habitats. But west of Scotland it has been targeted by foreign fishing trawlers that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 09 November 2014 New Scottish government proposals meant to protect marine wildlife will be greeted by a barrage of criticism this week for failing to prevent the damage being done by the fishing industry. Environmental groups are preparing to savage management arrangements planned for a new network of marine protected areas around Scotland. The measures will enable business as usual for fishing boats, they will say, and precious wildlife sites will suffer... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 02 November 2014 New evidence that hundreds of seals have been slashed to death and beheaded by a type of propeller used in shipping and offshore industries has prompted a powerful plea for a worldwide ban. A scientific study for the Scottish government by the Sea Mammal Research Unit at St Andrews University has confirmed that seals caught in ducted propellers suffer horrific and fatal “corkscrew” gashes. Larger seals could be decapitated... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 26 October 2014 There has been a sharp rise in the number of safety blunders at the nuclear bomb and submarine bases on the Clyde, according to internal reports from the Ministry of Defence (MoD). In the last five years there have been 316 “nuclear safety events”, 2,044 fire alarms and 71 fires at the Royal Navy’s controversial facilities at Faslane and Coulport near Helensburgh. There have also been over 3,000 “near... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 26 October 2014 Scotland is being urged to stop burning “dirty coal” from Colombia and to pull the public sector’s multi-million pound investments in a big mining corporation that’s involved. Victims of the vast Cerrejón mine in the La Guajira region of Columbia are due in Glasgow, Edinburgh and South Lanarkshire this week. The mine, which covers 69,000 hectares, has forcibly displaced farming communities, polluted water supplies and destroyed sacred sites, they... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2014 at Rob Edwards