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Rob Edwards
Edinburgh, Scotland
I'm a freelance environmental journalist.
Recent Activity
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from The Guardian, 24 April 2015 The head of a £16 billion defence company accused of arming dictatorships should be ousted from the governing body of the BBC, say campaigners. Sir Roger Carr, chairman of Europe’s biggest arms dealer, BAE Systems, is due to start work as vice-chairman of the BBC Trust on 1 May. But a campaign has been launched to get him sacked because of fears that he could influence BBC coverage of... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Rob Edwards
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Exclusive, 22 April 2015 A government watchdog has reprimanded the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine base at Devonport in Plymouth after a string of safety breaches. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has served the base with a legal enforcement notice to remedy flaws in the arrangements for protecting workers from radiation. It has also disclosed five incidents in which safety rules were broken between October and December last year, and described the procedures for reporting... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 20 April 2015 The Scottish Government has been accused of rushing to publish new findings on the horrific corkscrew injuries that kill seals in order to let the shipping industry off the hook. Internal documents show that officials moved rapidly to release research suggesting that cannibal seals were to blame for causing the lethal spiral lacerations, rather than ships’ propellers. They planned to tip the shipping industry off about the research ahead... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 19 April 2015 Traditional lairds whose shooting estates are wrecking the natural environment “embody the selfish greed of a Victorian era”, according to one of Scotland’s most respected conservationists. In a powerful and emotional swansong yesterday, Dick Balharry, who has played leading roles in four major environmental organisations over the last 50 years, condemned the vested interests of most private landowners in Scotland as “outdated and ludicrous”. Balharry was speaking after being... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 14 April 2015 The failure of Glasgow to curb air pollution from traffic - blamed for killing hundreds of people every year - is to be challenged in the UK Supreme Court later this week. The environment group, Client Earth, is taking the UK government to court for allowing lethal and illegal levels of toxic gases belched out by vehicle exhausts to persist in the city centre. Glasgow is one of 16... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 12 April 2015 The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has begun work on stationing new Trident submarines on the Clyde before the UK parliament has decided whether or not to give them the go-ahead, the Sunday Herald can reveal. The MoD has launched a series of studies into how the Faslane and Coulport naval bases can accommodate larger “successor” submarines to replace the four existing Trident boats. But the decision on whether they... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 12 April 2015 Early on Monday morning hundreds of protestors from across Scotland are planning to blockade the Faslane nuclear bomb base near Helensburgh with the aim of closing it down for the day. Many will lock themselves together to block access roads and stop staff and military officials from getting to work. There are likely to be multiple arrests, with a major operation by Police Scotland and the Ministry of Defence... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 5 April 2015 The billionaire property tycoon and would-be US presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has been accused of seeking to subvert the planning process in Aberdeenshire with a rash of new applications for houses, holiday lets and a second golf course. Critics say that his applications are designed to avoid a series of conditions imposed by the Scottish Government in 2008 when he was first controversially given the go-ahead for his golf... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 5 April 2015 The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has rejected a bid by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to prevent civil servants in Scotland from talking to the media without getting permission from ministers, the Sunday Herald can reveal. But unions say that tens of thousands of people employed by UK government agencies north of the border will still be “gagged”. Pressure on Westminster to reverse its new curb on freedom of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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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 Mar 29, 2015 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 Mar 29, 2015 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 Mar 29, 2015 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