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Rob Edwards
Edinburgh, Scotland
I'm a freelance environmental journalist.
Recent Activity
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from Sunday Herald, 06 April 2014 Private companies hired to work at the Clyde nuclear bomb bases are being given a multi-million pound get-out by Westminster so they won’t have to pay compensation or clean-up costs after “potentially catastrophic” accidents. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is planning to sign agreements with contractors at Faslane and Coulport that limit their financial liability in case of injuries, deaths, explosions, fires and radiation leaks to no more than... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 13 April 2014 Athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer have been warned that parts of the city should be “no-go areas” because of air pollution from traffic. This follows a scientific study suggesting that the performance of marathon runners and cyclists could be affected by breathing in elevated levels of tiny toxic particles from vehicle exhausts in the city. There is also new evidence that some of Glasgow’s... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 30 March 2014 The world is heading for more wars, more famine and more poverty because of the damage pollution is wreaking on the climate, according to the latest leaked report from United Nations (UN) scientists. Hundreds of millions of people could be displaced by rising sea levels, crop yields could drop by up to a fifth, and communities around the world could be devastated by floods, storms and heatwaves, the report... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 30 March 2014 The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has apologised for upsetting local residents by detonating 23 loud blasts at the UK nuclear bomb store at Coulport in Argyll last week. People living in Ardentinny, a small village on the opposite shore of Loch Long a mile from Coulport, say they have been “traumatised” by the continual explosions, which made it feel like they were living in a “war zone”. They are... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 23 March 2014 The Edinburgh International Science Festival has been accused of accepting “blood money” from a £3 billion arms company that sells weapons and security technologies to undemocratic and repressive regimes around the globe. The festival, which opens in two weeks time, has the British and Italian defence giant, Selex ES, as one of its “major funding partners”. The company helps fund visits to a quarter of Scotland’s primary schools every... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 23 March 2014 A newly formed company is bidding to restart Scotland’s dirtiest waste incinerator in the face of fierce opposition, the Sunday Herald can reveal. Polish-owned Rank Recycling Scotland (RRS) has taken over the Dargavel energy-from-waste plant in Dumfries and is planning to apply for a permit to fire it up again. The plant was banned from operating after hundreds of toxic pollution breaches and a two-day blaze last July left... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 16 March 2014 The nuclear bomb and submarine bases at Faslane and Coulport near Helensburgh are seeking permission to increase the amount of radioactive waste they discharge into the Clyde and the air, the Sunday Herald can reveal. But the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) is coming under mounting pressure to delay giving the go-ahead to the increases until it has been given the tough new statutory powers promised by the Scottish... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2014 at Rob Edwards
from Sunday Herald, 16 March 2014 The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has clarified a correction made by the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, last week after he was accused by the First Minister, Alex Salmond, of deceiving parliament. Hammond admitted he had been wrong to say that the January 2012 radiation incident at the Vulcan reactor in Caithness had resulted in "no measurable change in the radiation discharge". The Sunday Herald revealed last week that it... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 16 March 2014 An internal report from Scotland’s environment watchdog warning of a “high risk” of water pollution from drilling for underground gas has been seized on by objectors in the run-up to a major public inquiry opening this week. The report, written by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) in September 2012, reveals that a flawed and potentially leaky gas borehole was planned at Cumbernauld close to exploratory water wells dug... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 11 March 2014 Britain is in talks with the Russian state nuclear company about building a nuclear power station in the UK, a senior government official said today. Hergen Haye, head of new nuclear development at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), told students at Edinburgh University that active discussions were taking place in London after a memorandum of understanding had been signed with Russia. "I can tell you that,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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11 March 2014 The Scottish government is to end the Ministry of Defence’s historic protection from regulation and prosecution for radioactive pollution, the environment minister, Richard Lochhead, announced today. In the wake of growing concern over the MoD’s failure to inform official watchdogs, the Scottish government or the local community about a mishap at the Vulcan naval reactor in Caithness in January 2012, ministers have moved to close the MoD’s ‘Crown immunity’ loophole. Under current... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2014 at Rob Edwards
Comment, 10 March 2014 “There was little new to report,” lieutenant commander Rory Stewart, deputy commander of the Vulcan naval reactor near Dounreay in Caithness, told more than 30 community representatives gathered at the Pentland Hotel in Thurso on the 7 March 2012. He was giving an update on events at the Vulcan plant over the last three months to the Dounreay Stakeholder Group, a forum set up to improve transparency and trust. We now... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 09 March 2014 A mishap at a naval nuclear reactor near Dounreay - said by the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, to have caused no environmental pollution - in fact triggered a tenfold rise in radioactive gas emissions. The revelation, unearthed by a Sunday Herald investigation, has prompted the First Minister, Alex Salmond, to accuse Hammond of deceiving parliament. He is also writing to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, demanding an apology. The... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 09 March 2014 The UK’s entire nuclear-powered submarine fleet will be told to leave the Clyde and go back to England if Scotland votes for independence in September, the Scottish government has said. This would deal a fatal blow to Ministry of Defence (MoD) plans to make the Faslane naval base near Helensburgh the UK home port for all its 14 reactor-driven submarines over the next few decades. As well as the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 09 March 2014 Thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste from seven defunct nuclear submarines at Rosyth in Fife should be dumped in England, the Scottish government has told the Minister of Defence (MoD). Scotland’s environment minister, Richard Lochhead, has written to the UK defence minister, Philip Dunne, saying that waste from dismantling the submarines “should not be stored in Scotland”. Last month the MoD proposed an old nuclear site at Chapelcross, near... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 09 March 2014 The nuclear submarine base at Faslane on the Clyde has failed to complete vital fire and explosion risk assessments, according to information released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Over 500 of the MoD’s potentially hazardous sites across the UK have to carry out safety assessments under the 2002 Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations. The task was highlighted as one of the MoD top five “key pan-departmental safety... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 02 March 2014 Farmers are cramming millions more chickens into industrial sheds in order to meet supermarket demands for ever-cheaper food, a Sunday Herald investigation can reveal. Growing multitudes of birds are being packed into mass meat production facilities because High Street retailers want smaller, younger chickens to sell to customers at lower prices. As many as 19 chickens or more are being squeezed into every square metre of floor space, which... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 26 February 2014 Ministers are breaking environmental law by failing to prevent harbour seals from being sliced to death by ships’ propellers, according to a coalition of 13 wildlife and conservation groups. The groups have written to the UK and Scottish governments demanding immediate area bans on the covered propellers blamed for inflicting horrific “corkscrew” injuries on hundreds of seals and porpoises around the country. More deaths could wipe out declining populations... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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24 February 2014 The government’s nuclear safety watchdog is threatening to crack down on the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston for failing to make 1,000 drums of its most dangerous radioactive waste safe. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is considering enforcement action against AWE, which designs and makes Britain’s nuclear bombs at its site in Berkshire, because it missed a legally-binding deadline set seven years ago. The action could range from a formal... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2014 at Rob Edwards
for Sunday Herald, 23 February 2014 The UK government has rejected a formal complaint against the British communications giant, BT, alleging that its technology was aiding lethal US drone strikes on Yemen and Somalia. The human rights group, Reprieve, had complained that a $23 million contract between BT and the US government’s Defense Information Systems Agency had helped connect a US drone base in the East African republic of Djibouti to RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 16 February 2014 Local communities have won a record-breaking £13 million deal from a French multinational company planning to build a wind farm near Edinburgh. A healthy slice of the profits from 22 wind turbines proposed for Fauch Hill in West Lothian will be shared by surrounding towns and villages – plus all the profits from an additional turbine that will be wholly owned by local residents. The deal, agreed after long... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 16 February 2014 A leading gamekeeper has come under fire for seeming to back a call for two of Scotland’s iconic wild animals - pine martens and sea eagles - to be wiped out. A letter published in The Scottish Farmer last week from Donnie Ross of Leault in Kincraig, near Aviemore, argued that sea eagles should be killed off because they preyed on lambs. “Nothing short of complete eradication will do,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 16 February 2014 It’s not often that an animal that eats you turns out to be your saviour, but that’s exactly what scientists say pine martens are for red squirrels. According to a new study, pine martens prefer to eat grey squirrels, the red’s great rival. So much so, that populations of the greys crash, while their red cousins thrive. Grey squirrels are fatter and slower than the nimble reds, so make... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 11 February 2014 Britain’s secretive nuclear weapons research organisation gives over £8 million a year in research funding to more than 50 universities, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), a private consortium that runs nuclear bomb plants at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), puts most of the money into five of the UK’s leading universities with which... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 09 February 2014 A Ministry of Defence (MoD) plan to start dismantling seven defunct nuclear submarines at Rosyth in Fife will produce over 3,600 tonnes of radioactive waste – but no-one knows where it will all end up. Babcock, the British multinational than runs Rosyth dockyard for the MoD, has disclosed how much contaminated metal and equipment will be created when it takes apart the old reactor-driven submarines that have been berthed... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2014 at Rob Edwards