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Rob Edwards
Edinburgh, Scotland
I'm a freelance environmental journalist.
Recent Activity
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from Sunday Herald, 23 November 2014 Westminster has agreed a £37 million deal with the US government for a dozen huge new Trident missile launchers more than a year before the UK parliament is due to decide whether the nuclear weapons system should be renewed. The US defence giant, General Dynamics, has been contracted by the US Navy to make 12 launch tubes for a UK submarine that could start to replace those currently on... Continue reading
Posted 6 hours ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 23 November 2014 The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has applied for planning permission for a major new radioactive waste treatment plant at the nuclear submarine base at Faslane on the Clyde. It has told Argyll and Bute Council that the new facility is to treat and dispose of solid and liquid radioactive waste from the reactors that drive submarines. Some of the waste will be discharged into the Gareloch, northwest of Helensburgh.... Continue reading
Posted 6 hours ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 16 November 2014 A new coalition of 26 community and environmental groups is today urging the Scottish government to ban fracking for shale gas and drilling for underground coal gas. The groups, led by Concerned Communities of Falkirk (CCoF) and Friends of the Earth Scotland, are demanding “a moratorium on all forms of unconventional gas development in Scotland”. Risks to public health, workers and the environment are “impossible to regulate away”, they... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 16 November 2014 Some of Scotland’s best-known brands have been named and shamed by the government’s green watchdog for their “poor” performances on pollution, the Sunday Herald can reveal. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has fingered the famous food company, Baxters, the beer giant, Tennent Caledonian, and the biscuit-maker, McVities, for breaching pollution limits. Some leading whisky distilleries, including Glenlivet, Macallan and Ardmore, have also come under fire for failing to... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 16 November 2014 The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has come under fire for keeping the locations of 87 polluters secret, enabling mistakes to be covered up. In its latest assessment of environmental performances for 2013, it has refused to identify 1,187 water suppliers and 287 sites handling radioactive materials "for reasons of national security". But it has rated 83 of the water suppliers and four of the radioactive sites as “poor”... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 09 November 2014 The wildlife is thousands of years old, there are millions of species that have not yet been discovered and it is by far the biggest space for life on earth. But environmentalists say it is now being destroyed. The world’s deep ocean environment is perhaps the most important and least understood of the planet’s natural habitats. But west of Scotland it has been targeted by foreign fishing trawlers that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 09 November 2014 New Scottish government proposals meant to protect marine wildlife will be greeted by a barrage of criticism this week for failing to prevent the damage being done by the fishing industry. Environmental groups are preparing to savage management arrangements planned for a new network of marine protected areas around Scotland. The measures will enable business as usual for fishing boats, they will say, and precious wildlife sites will suffer... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 02 November 2014 New evidence that hundreds of seals have been slashed to death and beheaded by a type of propeller used in shipping and offshore industries has prompted a powerful plea for a worldwide ban. A scientific study for the Scottish government by the Sea Mammal Research Unit at St Andrews University has confirmed that seals caught in ducted propellers suffer horrific and fatal “corkscrew” gashes. Larger seals could be decapitated... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 26 October 2014 There has been a sharp rise in the number of safety blunders at the nuclear bomb and submarine bases on the Clyde, according to internal reports from the Ministry of Defence (MoD). In the last five years there have been 316 “nuclear safety events”, 2,044 fire alarms and 71 fires at the Royal Navy’s controversial facilities at Faslane and Coulport near Helensburgh. There have also been over 3,000 “near... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 26 October 2014 Scotland is being urged to stop burning “dirty coal” from Colombia and to pull the public sector’s multi-million pound investments in a big mining corporation that’s involved. Victims of the vast Cerrejón mine in the La Guajira region of Columbia are due in Glasgow, Edinburgh and South Lanarkshire this week. The mine, which covers 69,000 hectares, has forcibly displaced farming communities, polluted water supplies and destroyed sacred sites, they... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 19 October 2014 Over 1,400 of Scotland’s precious natural treasures are in a poor condition, according to the latest official assessments released by the government’s wildlife agency, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Some of the country’s best-know mountains, lochs, woodlands and bogs, along with birds, beetles, plants and other wildlife are suffering from farming, forestry, sporting estates, pollution, invasive species and many other threats. Among the numerous natural features categorised by SNH as... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 19 October 2014 The Scottish government’s wildlife watchdog ignored the advice of its own experts and bowed to political pressure to allow a nature conservation area to be damaged by opencast coal mining. A raft of internal emails released under freedom of information law reveal that Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) was repeatedly told by its staff not to allow the expansion of the Grievehill mine in East Ayrshire because of the dangers... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 12 October 2014 One of the reactors at the ageing Hunterston nuclear power station in North Ayrshire has been plagued by two serious new breakdowns, the Sunday Herald can reveal. Two large gas circulators vital for cooling the reactor and preventing meltdown were badly damaged because someone mistakenly switched off the oil meant to lubricate them. And on Thursday the reactor had to be unexpectedly shut down after running for just four... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 12 October 2014, from Fukushima "I'm very, very sorry to my ancestors, my children and my grandchildren" At least 25,000 people evacuated after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan will never be able to go home, the Sunday Herald can reveal. A large swathe of land downwind of the four Fukushima Daiichi reactors smashed by a 15-metre tsunami in March 2011 is so contaminated by radioactivity that it will not be officially... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 12 October 2014, from Fukushima Shortly after 3.30 in the afternoon of 11 March 2011, Yukiteru Naka watched from the window of his gleaming new hilltop house in Tomioka, Japan, as a tsunami broke over the roofs of the Fukushima Daini nuclear power station a kilometre down the coast. As a nuclear engineer, he knew just how serious this could be. Last Saturday he stood forlornly outside his empty dream home with... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 12 October 2014, from Fukushima More than three and a half years after four nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi on the east coast of Japan were devastated by an earthquake and tsunami, they still leak. Radioactivity is spewing into the air, leaching into the soil and seeping into the sea. The huge scale of the containment problems faced by the plants’ operator, TEPCO, are difficult to comprehend. Highly radioactive uranium fuel in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 02 October 2014 Britain’s nuclear bomb factories have been reprimanded by two government watchdogs for breaking safety rules on radioactive wastes. AWE, the private consortium that operates Trident nuclear weapons facilities at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire for the Ministry of Defence, has come under fire from the Environment Agency (EA) and the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) for failures in managing its hazardous wastes. The EA has issued AWE with a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 28 September 2014 Landowners have been condemned for shooting more than 1,500 mountain hares this year in the Lammermuir Hills, south east of Edinburgh. Wildlife and animal rights groups say that the “mass slaughter” of a much-loved Scottish species is unjustified and cruel. But landowners insist that the cull is necessary to protect grouse from disease so that they can be shot for sport. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 28 September 2014 The health of paddlers, swimmers and surfers at 14 beaches across Scotland has been put at risk by pollution from overflowing sewers and farms, official figures reveal. The annual survey of the state of Scotland’s bathing waters, due to be unveiled by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) this week, will show that contamination from human and animal faeces this summer has been worse than last year. The two... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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Exclusive, 24 September 2014 Nuclear trucks that should have been scrapped more than a decade ago keep breaking down – and could cause a disaster on the roads. A former senior safety official at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has warned that an accident could trigger a fire and a leak of radioactivity. Official documents have revealed that lorries that were scheduled to be retired in 2003 are still being used to transport dangerous and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from the Daily Record, 22 September 2014 Serious staff shortages aboard nuclear submarines on the Clyde are putting the public at risk, a former senior safety official at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is warning. New figures reveal that more than one in ten posts are vacant across the UK’s entire reactor-driven submarine fleet. This includes three of the Vanguard boats that carry Trident nuclear warheads, plus six other Astute and Trafalgar class submarines. Shortages... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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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 Sep 14, 2014 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 Sep 12, 2014 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