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Rob Edwards
Edinburgh, Scotland
I'm a freelance environmental journalist.
Recent Activity
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from Hesamag, July 2015 On a hot and hectic street in the Indian city of Bhopal, the flames licked up the two giant corporate logos. The blue of Union Carbide and the red of Dow Chemical Company, with added skulls, were incinerated to nothingness within seconds. Just a few metres away, across a high security wall, was the cause of the angry effigy-burning: the derelict and overgrown pesticide factory that leaked toxic gas 30 years... Continue reading
Posted 11 hours ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 28 June 2015 Both sides in Scotland’s escalating seal-shooting wars could face charges after a series of dramatic confrontations between salmon fishermen and animal rights activists on cliffs and beaches along the north and east coasts. Police have revealed that they have sent reports to the procurator fiscal about three recent incidents involving members of Montrose-based Usan Salmon Fisheries and the international environmental group, Sea Shepherd. The company has been shooting seals... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 28 June 2015 A former Royal Navy commander has backed the Trident whistleblower, William McNeilly, and accused the navy of being “out of its depth” on nuclear weapons. Rob Green, who flew nuclear-armed planes and helicopters for the navy in the 1960s and 1970s, praised McNeilly for being “courageous” and “patriotic” in helping to expose a “dangerous situation” which will get worse if Trident is replaced. Green is famous for being the... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 24 June 2015 Four large bombs exploded underwater by the Royal Navy were to blame for a mass stranding which killed 19 pilot whales on the north coast of Scotland in 2011, government scientists have concluded. A long-delayed report released online today by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs says that the noise from the explosions could have damaged the hearing and navigational abilities of the whales, causing them to... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 21 June 2015 The Trident whistleblower, William McNeilly, has accused the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of “brainwashing” the public into believing that nuclear weapons are safe. In a new public message, he says that people are being deceived about the security of Trident nuclear warheads carried by submarines based at Faslane and Coulport on the Clyde. A terrorist attack is highly likely, he claims. McNeilly disclosed last week that he had been... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 21 June 2015 Three leading board members of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park authority have been reported to the ethical standards watchdog for allegedly failing to declare an interest in a fiercely disputed camping ban. They all have homes in a proposed “management zone” to control camping but, according to observers, didn’t make that clear at a board meeting that approved the plan. The minutes of the meeting in April... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 18 June 2016 The Royal Navy was yesterday accused of “acting dishonourably” by sacking William McNeilly, the Trident whistleblower who alleged that nuclear submarines were plagued by safety and security flaws. McNeilly has posted a new report online revealing that he has been given a “dishonourable discharge” by the navy. He lost his job in order to protect the navy’s public image, he claims. He attacks “military deceivers” and “spin doctors” for... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 17 June 2016 The Trident safety whistlerblower, William McNeilly, says he has been dishonourably discharged from the Royal Navy to protect its public image. In a new 9-page report posted online, the former nuclear submariner attacks “military deceivers” and naval “spin doctors” for downplaying his allegations about multiple safety and security lapses. “It is shocking that some people in a military force can be more concerned about public image than public safety,”... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 14 June 2015 Buccleuch's North Sanquhar Moor wind farm The Duke of Buccleuch lobbied the Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, and government officials behind closed doors to fast-track a £1 billion plan for one of Scotland’s biggest-ever wind farms, according to internal documents obtained by the Sunday Herald. In a “private and confidential” presentation last November, Buccleuch’s chief executive, John Glen, urged Ewing to “debottleneck” the approval process for building 140 wind turbines... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 7 June 2015 Achmelvich beach, one of the cleanest (photo thanks to Damian Shields) One in four of Scotland’s beaches are in a “poor” state because of toxic contamination from sewage and animal wastes, according to an analysis by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa). The Scottish Government’s pollution watchdog has given 21 bathing waters all around the coast a rock-bottom rating under tough new European safety standards. This means that bacteria... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 7 June 2015 Thousands of samples of algae that could hold the key to cleaning up sewage pollution will have to be re-examined because they have been wrongly classified by scientists. A so-called ‘algae bank’ at the Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban is embarking on the mammoth task of checking all 3,000 of its colourful, slimy samples to make sure that they have been correctly identified. This is crucial, researchers... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 31 May 2015 Rich private landowners have come under heavy fire after a series of intemperate outbursts aimed at blocking Scottish Government’s plans to tackle huge inequalities in wealth by radically reforming land law. Large sporting estates have blasted the proposed changes as “ideological”, “emotive” and likely to stir up “hate tactics based upon jealousy”. They have drawn comparisons with Zimbabwe, and said they “resent” interference from urban-dwellers “with little experience of... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 28 May 2015 Mass civil disobedience and a legal challenge will be inevitable if Scottish ministers endorse a plan to crack down on camping in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, veteran campaigners are warning. Hundreds of people will be turned into criminals for pitching tents on the loch shores leading to a “summer of discontent”, they say, arguing that the proposed curbs will breach legal rights of access to the... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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Comment, 28 May 2015 For the last two years a small group of us have been trying to figure out the future of investigative journalism. With a lot of help and hopefully a little inspiration, we have come up with The Ferret. It's a new platform for fearless reporting beholden to no-one except its writers and readers. It will be a co-operative, it will be accountable, and it will be transparent. It will depend on... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 24 May 2015 An inherent flaw in Trident missiles could lead to fires, explosions and widespread radioactive contamination, according to a top-secret safety manual leaked by the naval whistleblower, William McNeilly. The Royal Navy’s official instructions on how to take care of nuclear weapons reveal that the “chief potential hazard” from a live missile is the “accidental ignition” of solid rocket fuel. This could cause the warheads’ conventional high explosives to detonate... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 24 May 2015 McNeilly snapped in Portsmouth While the Trident whistleblower, William McNeilly, was being mysteriously moved around Britain last week, a massive nuclear bomb convoy trundled along some of Scotland’s busiest roads. Although the Ministry of Defence (MoD) would rather have kept the movements of both the man and the weapons secret, they were defeated by social media. A fellow sailor posted a photograph of McNeilly in the canteen of Nelson... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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18 May 2016 The nuclear weapons technician on the run since he blew the whistle on 30 alleged safety and security flaws on Trident submarines has said that he is going to give himself up to police today. In a new public post on Facebook just after 1pm, William McNeilly (25) said that had achieved what he wanted. "I set out to gather as much information as possible, as fast as possible, inform you and... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 18 May 2015 The nuclear weapons engineer on the run after he blew the whistle on 30 alleged safety and security flaws plaguing Trident submarines has told his family he’s planning to give himself up. Royal Navy submariner, William McNeilly (25), assured his brother on Facebook yesterday that he was “relatively safe now” though he couldn’t say where he was. “I will return to the UK and hand myself in soon,” he... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 17 May 2015 Trident submarines are plagued by serious security lapses, beset by multiple safety blunders and “a disaster waiting to happen”, according to a nuclear weapons engineer turned whistleblower now being hunted by the police. William McNeilly, who says he was on patrol with HMS Victorious from January to April this year, alleges that the Trident missiles it carries are vulnerable to a terrorist attack that “would kill our people and... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 17 May 2015 My name is William McNeilly. I am a weapons engineer submariner for the UK's Trident II D5 strategic weapons system. The penalty for releasing this report will be life prison if I’m lucky. The worst fear for me isn’t prison or being assassinated, it’s the fear of sacrificing everything I have just to warn the public and yet never be heard. My leave expires today. I will be hunted... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 14 May 2015 Safety limits on the storage of some of the world’s most dangerous nuclear wastes at Sellafield in Cumbria have been relaxed after an accident knocked out a treatment plant and caused “gross contamination”. The government’s safety watchdog, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), has permitted the private company that runs Sellafield to breach legal restrictions on the amount of hot, high-level radioactive waste that can be kept in tanks.... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 13 May 2015 The University of Edinburgh has been accused of betraying future generations by failing to withdraw its multi-million pound investments in climate-wrecking fossil fuels. Protesting students lay down on the steps of the university’s stately Old College yesterday and angrily confronted the senior vice principal, Professor Charlie Jeffery, after he announced a much more cautious approach to disinvestment than had been expected. The university rejected the option of withdrawing investments... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 10 May 2015 A toxic drug fed to caged salmon in Scotland is due to be withdrawn from the market after scientists found that that it can leak into lochs and kill crabs, shrimps and lobsters. Food pellets laced with a chemical called teflubenzuron have long been given to farmed salmon around the coast in order to control sea lice infestations. The lice eat salmon, killing them or stunting their growth, and... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 10 May 2015 They used to be ubiquitous in our towns and cities, flitting, pecking and chirping noisily. But now they have gone, and the streets have fallen silent. House sparrows - the brown, boisterous opportunists that were Britain’s best-known urban birds - have virtually disappeared. Scientists say their numbers have plummeted by up to 90 per cent since the 1970s. No-one is exactly sure why, though the loss of hedges, trees,... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 03 May 2015 A Scottish quarry company is launching a new bid to dig a massive hole on the banks of the Clyde despite being rejected four times in the last five years by the local council, the Scottish Government and the Court of Session. Outrage and shock have greeted news that Patersons Quarries is intending to lodge another planning application for a 3.3 million tonne sand and gravel quarry at Overburns... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2015 at Rob Edwards