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Rob Edwards
Edinburgh, Scotland
I'm a freelance environmental journalist.
Recent Activity
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from Sunday Herald, 29 March 2015 An investigation is under way after radiation leaked into a drain at the Torness nuclear power station in East Lothian, the Sunday Herald can reveal. A suspect waste discharge pipe at the plant has been taken out of service, and contaminated water has had to be been removed and disposed of. Government safety watchdogs have carried out an inspection and are being kept informed of investigations. The radiation leak... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 29 March 2015 Scottish ministers have been accused of “foot-dragging” after it emerged that the promised public consultation on fracking has been delayed until the autumn, pushing the outcome beyond the Scottish election in 2016. The Sunday Herald understands from political sources that the Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, is planning to tell the Scottish Parliament soon that the consultation will begin in November and run until January. This is months later than... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 29 March 2015 The Scottish and UK governments have been reported to the European Commission for ignoring their environmental advisers and giving the go ahead to the dumping of seawater from ships in one of Scotland’s most precious and historic bays. Critics fear that allowing oil tankers to discharge their ballast water into Scapa Flow in Orkney could be “catastrophic”. The water brought in from elsewhere will cause pollution and introduce invasive... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 24 March 2015 Hundreds of kilometres of railway lines around Britain’s coast are becoming increasingly vulnerable to waves, landslides and storms triggered by climate pollution, an expert has warned. Professor Robert Duck from the University of Dundee says that numerous sections of railway in Wales, Cumbria, Devon and elsewhere are at risk of being washed away because they skirt so close to the sea. Three lines had to close in 2014 after... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 23 March 2015 The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is being reprimanded by a government watchdog for breaking safety rules after a worker was exposed to radiation at the Faslane nuclear base on the Clyde. The incident occurred because staff stopped carrying portable alarms as they should to alert them to radiation dangers. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is warning the MoD that it must take remedial action to make sure it... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 22 March 2015 One of the world’s biggest arms companies has pulled out of a major sponsorship deal with the Edinburgh International Science Festival following protests over “blood money”. But Selex ES - accused of selling high-tech weapons and security systems to repressive and undemocratic regimes around the world - is still running one of the most popular children’s activities at the festival, which starts in two weeks. Campaigners have hailed the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 16 March 2015 Scotland should be aiming to get rid of foodbanks by enshrining a right to food in law and ending food poverty, say campaigners. Backed by experts, political leaders and the Church of Scotland, the new sustainable food group, Nourish Scotland, is launching a campaign for everyone to have a legal right to food. This should enable foodbanks to ”disappear from Scotland like snow off a dyke”, it suggests. UK... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 15 March 2015 Oil and chemical plants run by INEOS at Grangemouth have breached health and safety regulations 34 times in the last four years, been officially condemned as “poor” for pollution three years in a row, and seen more than 20 staff injured since the start of 2015. An investigation by the Sunday Herald has uncovered the Swiss-based petrochemical giant’s record of mishaps, leaks and failures to control risks for workers.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 15 March 2015 A major new charm offensive due to be launched this week by the £37 billion petrochemical giant, INEOS, to win Scotland round to fracking - but the public relations campaign has already run into fierce flak before even getting off the ground. Environmentalists and politicians have attacked the forthcoming campaign involving London-based public relations companies as “PR spin” and “slick marketing” designed to divide communities. A company called Mediazoo... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 08 March 2015 A top-secret £634 million project vital for renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system has been halted following design and management difficulties, according to the government's Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). This could undermine the UK government’s entire plan to replace Trident, say critics. They are demanding investigations by the National Audit Office and by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The MoD insisted that work towards replacing Trident was continuing,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 08 March 2015 The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is struggling to recruit enough skilled engineers to keep its nuclear bombs and submarines safe, according to a new report from its internal watchdog. The Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR) is warning that the shortage of suitably qualified nuclear staff is “the principal threat to the maintenance of safety in the Defence Nuclear Programme”. This is “a long standing issue” that could impede major... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 08 March 2015 A coalition of wildlife and conservation groups are urging the Scottish and UK governments to withdraw advice to the shipping industry that could see more seals killed by corkscrew injuries. Official advice was changed last month after researchers found evidence that an adult male grey seal in the Firth of Forth had killed young grey seals and left distinctive spiral lacerations around their bodies. Before that, ships using ducted... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 08 March 2015 A Scottish Government instruction to allow more houses to be built on a Cairngorm woodland is flawed and should be revoked, say environmental groups. An expert report they’ve commissioned concludes that a highly unusual direction issued by government planning chief, John McNairney, to the Cairngorm National Park Authority is ”unreasonable”, “incorrect” and “wrong” – and should be withdrawn. McNairney ordered the park authority last month to reverse a previous... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 01 March 2015 Fresh alarms over nuclear dangers on the Clyde have been sounded after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) revealed that the number of radiation safety incidents had leapt by more than 50 per cent in a year. There were 105 “nuclear safety events” officially recorded at the Faslane and Coulport submarine and bomb bases in 2013-14, compared to 68 in 2012-13. That’s by far the highest for at least the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 01 March 2015 The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is being asked to investigate the conduct of her own Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, after he was accused of blocking one windfarm to pave the way for another backed by the Duke of Buccleuch, Britain's largest private landowner. The accusations – which are denied by the Scottish Government and Buccleuch – have been prompted by Ewing’s shock decision on 18 February to reject a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 23 February 2015 A new partnership with controversial US oil giant, Halliburton, to exploit coal gas under the Firth of Forth has come under fierce fire from environmentalists and politicians. The company that’s leading efforts to develop underground coal gasification (UCG), Cluff Natural Resources, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Halliburton. This launches a new collaboration aimed at commercialising exploration licences covering large parts of the Firth of Forth, starting with... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 22 February 2015 Four of the UK government’s top Trident officials held a meeting to discuss “maritime programme shaping” just three days before the independence referendum on 18 September, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). A list of meetings disclosed under freedom of information law also reveals that two days later on the eve of the referendum, one of the officials met with a senior policy advisor to Prime Minister David... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 22 February 2015 An alliance of communities across Scotland is demanding that the Scottish Government’s fracking moratorium be broadened to ban plans to ignite and gasify coal under the seabed around the coast. Nearly 30 campaign and environmental groups have this weekend written to the Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing MSP, asking for a halt to all underground coal gasification (UCG) developments because of the health and environmental risks. It is a “grave... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 15 February 2015 The keeping of exotic pets like snakes, lizards, crocodiles, monkeys and meerkats could be restricted in the wake of a major review of the international pet trade to be launched by the Scottish Government. The Environment Minister, Richard Lochhead MSP, is announcing the review today (Sunday) after animal welfare groups highlighted the poor conditions in which such pets can be bred and kept - and the health and environmental... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 15 February 2015 Scottish Water has been branded as one of Scotland’s biggest polluters after government figures revealed that it has been guilty of 51 pollution offences in the last ten years. The public water company has been fined more than £240,000 for 47 spills, leaks and discharges between 2005 and 2014. It has been formally admonished by courts for four further incidents. Recent offences include chlorine discharges that killed over 1,000... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 08 February 2015 The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is planning to spend £4.2 billion on replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system before the UK parliament has given it the go-ahead, according to a report from the government’s National Audit Office (NAO). The money is being spent on designing new submarines, reactors and missile compartments ahead of a long-promised decision on Trident replacement by MPs in 2016, after this year’s UK general election.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 08 February 2015 Pressure is mounting on investors to pull the billions of pounds they pour into fossil fuel firms because of dangers to human health and the environment. In a new report, doctors are calling for investments in coal, oil and gas companies to be withdrawn. They blame the industry for air pollution that is killing over 2,000 people a year in Scotland. According to campaigners, over 180 institutions around the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 01 February 2015 The Scottish government’s much-lauded fracking moratorium will allow highly controversial plans to exploit coal gas under the seabed near Scotland’s coast to go ahead – despite ministers having powers to block the developments. Ministers are now facing mounting pressure to close what is seen as a “gaping loophole” in the temporary ban imposed on new gas technologies last week. The ban covers fracking for shale gas in the central... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 01 February 2015 It’s not a pretty word, nor an easy idea to grasp. But it has inspired thousands from Scotland and elsewhere to get on their feet and protest. This week a trainload of protestors will be heading for Brussels to raise their voices against TTIP – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – which is beginning its crucial next round of negotiations. It’s a big business deal between the European... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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Sunday Herald editorial, 25 January 2015 There has always been a touch of cognitive dissonance, when climate chaos is threatening, over the opening up of new fossil fuel frontiers. Exploiting more of the earth's carbon resources when we know that to stay safe most of them will have to stay in the ground has never looked smart. That is why this weekend's moves by the SNP and Labour to ban onshore gas developments - at... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2015 at Rob Edwards