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Rob Edwards
Edinburgh, Scotland
I'm a freelance environmental journalist.
Recent Activity
from The Ferret, 28 July 2015 Scottish ministers were privately warned by a multi-millionaire oil tycoon that Scotland would lose £250 million worth of investment if they blocked plans to extract coal gas from under the Firth of Forth, reports The Ferret. In a letter to the planning minister, Alex Neil, and the energy minister, Fergus Ewing veteran entrepreneur Algy Cluff said that including his plans for underground coal gasification (UCG) in the fracking moratorium... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 26 July 2015 Scottish Water has come under attack from a government safety watchdog because the number of contamination problems and incidents doubled across the drinking water network in a year. There had been a “deterioration throughout the water supply system” on bacterial quality, according to the regulator, Sue Petch. She has also launched legal enforcement action because of an “unacceptable” level of faecal parasites and a “very disappointing” number of incidents... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 26 July 2015 Wildlife experts have discovered a rare and unique bee in an ancient Cairngorm woodland destined to be turned into a housing estate. A pinewood mason bee has been recorded and photographed on the site of a planned development at Rothiemurchus near Aviemore in the Cairngorm National Park. Known as An Camas Mòr and envisaging a 1,500-house new town, the scheme has long been opposed by conservationists. The ginger and... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 19 July 2015 The petrochemical giant, Ineos, is being accused of planning to flout the Scottish Government’s fracking moratorium by test drilling for shale gas in central Scotland. The company has revealed that it is going to apply for planning permission to sink four or five wells to find out how much gas is trapped in underground rocks. This will not involve hydraulic fracturing, it says, and will be consistent with the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 19 July 2015 The anti-litter charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB), has been accused of being a “creature” of the corporate packaging industry after it came out against a Scottish government plan to cut litter by charging deposits on drinks containers. Most environmental groups support the introduction of a deposit scheme because they think it would cut waste by encouraging bottles, cans and cartons to be returned and recycled. But KSB says it... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 12 July 2015 The Duke of Buccleuch has been accused of breaking Scotland’s ‘right to roam’ law by trying to make people pay to take walks on his 1,000-acre estate near Edinburgh. The UK’s largest private landowner is charging dog walkers £20 for an “annual pass” and demanding £1 from ramblers and cyclists when they visit Dalkeith Country Park. He is also installing CCTV, electric controls on the main gate, and local... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 8 July 2015 The Scottish Government has lost a long-running battle to keep the names of fish farms that shoot seals secret. In two rulings yesterday, the Scottish Information Commissioner, Rosemary Agnew, ordered ministers to identify the individual farms responsible for killing 185 seals in 2013 and 2014. She dismissed the government’s argument that this could put staff and their families at risk from protestors. Her decision was welcomed as a “landmark... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 6 July 2015 Whales, wildlife and farm animals across a large swath of northern Scotland could all suffer if a veterinary health laboratory funded by the Scottish Government is forced to close, campaigners have warned. Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is planning to save £400,000 a year by closing the animal disease surveillance centre in Inverness. Across the Highlands, the centre looks after the health of agricultural livestock, helps investigate wildlife crime like... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 5 July 2015 Disarmament campaigners have launched a legal challenge to Israel’s secretive nuclear agency, demanding that it be given democratic authorisation. The Israeli Disarmament Movement has written to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu requesting that he legislate for the existence of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission. Set up behind the scenes in 1952 to manage Israel’s nuclear activities, the commission has never been affirmed in law, campaigners say. The commission runs two... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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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 Jul 1, 2015 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 Jun 28, 2015 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 Jun 28, 2015 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 Jun 24, 2015 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