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Rob Edwards
Edinburgh, Scotland
I'm a freelance environmental journalist.
Recent Activity
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Exclusive, 14 September 2014 Massive £1 billion tax breaks given to big oil companies in the North Sea every year should be diverted to renewable energy and improving social services under independence, says a new report from the Scottish Green Party. The party has made the first estimate of all the UK government’s subsidies provided to oil and gas corporations to encourage development. A complex web of allowances and tax relief rewards them with at... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Rob Edwards
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Exclusive, 12 September 2014 Millions of freshwater pearl mussels have been killed by sewage pollution of the River Spey in northeast Scotland over the last 15 years, according to scientific reports released under freedom of information law. Experts from the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen have revealed that the number of mussels in the river has halved from 10 million in 1998-9 to five million in 2013. They blame high levels of phosphorus and other... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from The Herald, 08 September 2014 An independent Scotland should welcome a natural invasion of plants and animals from England and not reject them as alien because they come from a foreign country, says a leading wildlife expert. Professor Chris Thomas, a biologist from the University of York, is warning that labelling as non-native birds, butterflies and other species that move north because of global warming would create “one big headache”. He points out that... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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for Sunday Herald, 07 September 2014 The power of the multinational food industry should be broken by a radical transformation of how Scotland produces and consumes food after independence, according to a new report. Amongst 23 proposals to begin fundamentally changing Scottish food policy, are vegetables on prescription, tax breaks on vegetarian meals and rent-free shops for local greengrocers. There are also measures to encourage people to grow their own food, to support small farmers... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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for Sunday Herald, 07 September 2014 A huge leap in imports of cheap salmon from abroad has exposed the “utter madness” of the world food trade, say environmental campaigners. New figures released by the UK government reveal that imports of salmon from the Faroes, Sweden and elsewhere have risen ten times faster than exports. This is despite the claimed success of Scotland’s salmon export business. The UK now imports nearly two-thirds as much salmon as... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 31 August 2014 The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is expected to ditch using a stately home near Edinburgh in the wake of fierce controversy over its links with the illegal killing of birds of prey. For the last three years RSPB Scotland has staged the Scottish Birdfair at Hopetoun House, on the Firth of Forth west of South Queensferry. It is an ancestral home that has been occupied... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 17 August 2014 Marine wildlife is being killed, deformed, traumatised, stressed and bruised by a crescendo of underwater noise from ships and offshore industry, scientists are warning. Whales, squid, fish, crabs and shellfish are all suffering from the rising din being made by propellers, engines and subsea drilling, prompting demands for quieter ships and the introduction of “quiet areas” in the seas. Hundreds of marine biologists from across the world are gathering... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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for Sunday Herald, 17 August 2014 The UK government’s minister for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael, is under fire for backing a “Tory raid on people’s property rights” to help fracking companies. The Scottish energy minister, Fergus Ewing, is writing to Carmichael demanding that he distance himself from Westminster proposals to allow firms to frack for shale gas under land without asking the owner’s permission. The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) last week completed... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2014 at Rob Edwards
from Sunday Herald, 17 August 2014 An investigation has been launched after a worker at the Faslane naval base on the Clyde was mistakenly exposed to radiation. The incident happened in June, but was only revealed in a report posted online last week by the UK government’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). It said that an operator had received a “small dose” from a radiography source used for checking materials. “The incident in question occurred... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 10 August 2014 A proposed new traffic highway through the Serengeti in eastern Africa would be “catastrophic” for 1.5 million migrating wildebeests and zebras, a leading Glasgow scientist has warned. The Tanzanian government is pushing ahead with plans for a new 50-kilometre road across the Serengeti National Park. But Dr Grant Hopcraft, from the University of Glasgow’s centre for population and ecosystem health, says that this will disrupt a mass migration regarded... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 10 August 2014 The organisers of golf’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles next month have been accused of turning the area into a “Scottish version of Alcatraz” by closing public footpaths and banning walkers from surrounding countryside. Perth and Kinross Council, backed by Scottish Ministers, has approved special exemptions to Scotland’s ‘right to roam’ law to restrict public access to land at Auchterarder next to the tournament course. The restrictions start coming into... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 03 August 2014 Convoys carrying nuclear bombs and hazardous radioactive materials by road through Scotland and across the UK have suffered 70 safety lapses in five and half years, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). A new log of incidents released by the MoD under freedom of information law reveals that vehicles have suddenly broken down, fuel has leaked, brakes have overheated, alarms have malfunctioned and many other vital systems have... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 27 July 2014 Scottish taxpayers will have to fork out a massive £1 billion to maintain Trident nuclear weapons on the Clyde over the next ten years, according to new figures from the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The huge bill has been angrily attacked as “ludicrous” and “eye-watering” by Scottish politicians, who point out that the money could be used instead to build dozens of schools or hospitals. But the MoD insisted... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 27 July 2014 An investigation has been launched after the discovery of radioactive pollution outside the Dounreay nuclear complex in Caithness, Alpha radiation was detected in a sample of sludge from a drain upstream of the site on 10 July and reported to a sub-committee of the local stakeholder group on Wednesday evening. It was confirmed on Friday by the private consortium that is cleaning up Dounreay, DSRL. According to the government... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 27 July 2014 A network of 30 new marine conservation areas unveiled by Scottish ministers last week fails to ban one of the most environmentally destructive forms of fishing – dredging the seabed for scallops. This has left a gaping loophole in measures meant to protect marine wildlife, according to a community environmental group. Fishermen, however, have hit back, warning that “ill-informed restrictions” must not be imposed on Scotland’s £30 million scallop-dredging... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 20 July 2014 Plans to cut dangerous levels of air pollution from traffic across large parts of urban Scotland have been delayed by five years, putting the UK and Scottish governments at risk of multi-million pound fines for breaching environmental law. Glasgow is not now expected to comply with air pollution safety limits until 2025, while Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and other conurbations won’t meet the limits until 2020. The delays mean Scotland... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 20 July 2014 Toxic air pollution from vehicle exhausts is worsening at five busy streets in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, according to the latest official monitoring. Average levels of nitrogen dioxide gas have shot up on the Byres Road in Glasgow from 45 to 54 microgrammes per cubic metre between 2013 and the first half of this year. Over the same period levels have also increased at Hope Street in the city... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 20 July 2014 Highland Council has been accused of “utter contempt” for local people after it suppressed plans meant to protect the public from nuclear accidents. The council has blocked publication of reports detailing emergency arrangements for coping with radiation leaks from the Dounreay and Vulcan nuclear facilities in Caithness and from nuclear submarines berthed in Loch Ewe near Ullapool. It says it needs to “retain control” of the reports. This is... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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14 July 2014 There were 37 security breaches and incidents at nuclear power plants across the UK last year, according to the Civil Nuclear Police Authority (CNPA). That is the highest number in the last three years, and includes the loss or theft of electronic devices, the unauthorised disclosure of secret documents and the compromise of personal data. CNPA provides heavily-armed police forces at eight nuclear power stations around the coast, as well as at... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 13 July 2014 Conditions at seven old opencast coal mines across Scotland’s central belt are deteriorating with growing risks of pollution, flooding and accidents, according to confidential documents seen by the Sunday Herald. Mines in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Fife, abandoned by Scottish Coal when it went bust in April 2013, are threatened by rising water levels, contaminated lagoons and erosion. But money to look after them is running out, and it’s far... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 13 July 2014 The funds available to clean up an opencast coal mine in Ayrshire have been halved because of a legal technicality, undermining plans to restore mines that have left scars across Scotland. East Ayrshire Council has failed in a bid to get the insurance company, Zurich, to pay out £3.34 million for environmental remediation at Dalfad mine. Instead the company is now only liable for £1.67 million or less. The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 13 July 2014 The cast-off clothes that people give to charity shops are swamping the African republic of Ghana, destroying its native textile industry and threatening its culture. About 90 per cent of the shirts, trousers, dresses, shoes and other garments donated to High Street shops end up being exported, mostly to Africa. Ghana is the biggest recipient and calls the trade ‘obroni wawu’ - literally meaning ‘white men’s dead clothes’. Some... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 10 July 2014 With Edinburgh about to enjoy its annual Festival invasion, you’d think that the city’s Waverley railway station would be keen to welcome all visitors. Not so, it seems. The station’s operator, Network Rail, has introduced new access arrangements that have infuriated cyclists, come under sustained attack from politicians and earned it the label “Fortress Waverley”. Cyclists used to be able to ride in and out of the station via... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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06 July 2014 A promise to introduce low air pollution zones to protect the health of athletes and spectators at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow has been broken. The Games, due to open on 23 July, were still being branded last week as having “low emission zones” around ten city venues. But no such zones are in fact being designated because organisers have had to quietly backtrack on their plans to make Glasgow 2014 environmentally... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 06 July 2014 A power company’s plan to change the rules so it can ship nuclear waste to and fro across Scotland’s central belt has been condemned as a “nightmare vision”. The French nuclear energy firm, EDF Energy, is applying for new authorisations to allow radioactive waste to be transported by road between its two nuclear power stations at Hunterston in North Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian. The company wants the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2014 at Rob Edwards