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Rob Edwards
Edinburgh, Scotland
I'm a freelance environmental journalist.
Recent Activity
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from Sunday Herald, 20 July 2014 Plans to cut dangerous levels of air pollution from traffic across large parts of urban Scotland have been delayed by five years, putting the UK and Scottish governments at risk of multi-million pound fines for breaching environmental law. Glasgow is not now expected to comply with air pollution safety limits until 2025, while Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and other conurbations won’t meet the limits until 2020. The delays mean Scotland... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 20 July 2014 Toxic air pollution from vehicle exhausts is worsening at five busy streets in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, according to the latest official monitoring. Average levels of nitrogen dioxide gas have shot up on the Byres Road in Glasgow from 45 to 54 microgrammes per cubic metre between 2013 and the first half of this year. Over the same period levels have also increased at Hope Street in the city... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 20 July 2014 Highland Council has been accused of “utter contempt” for local people after it suppressed plans meant to protect the public from nuclear accidents. The council has blocked publication of reports detailing emergency arrangements for coping with radiation leaks from the Dounreay and Vulcan nuclear facilities in Caithness and from nuclear submarines berthed in Loch Ewe near Ullapool. It says it needs to “retain control” of the reports. This is... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Rob Edwards
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14 July 2014 There were 37 security breaches and incidents at nuclear power plants across the UK last year, according to the Civil Nuclear Police Authority (CNPA). That is the highest number in the last three years, and includes the loss or theft of electronic devices, the unauthorised disclosure of secret documents and the compromise of personal data. CNPA provides heavily-armed police forces at eight nuclear power stations around the coast, as well as at... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 13 July 2014 Conditions at seven old opencast coal mines across Scotland’s central belt are deteriorating with growing risks of pollution, flooding and accidents, according to confidential documents seen by the Sunday Herald. Mines in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Fife, abandoned by Scottish Coal when it went bust in April 2013, are threatened by rising water levels, contaminated lagoons and erosion. But money to look after them is running out, and it’s far... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 13 July 2014 The funds available to clean up an opencast coal mine in Ayrshire have been halved because of a legal technicality, undermining plans to restore mines that have left scars across Scotland. East Ayrshire Council has failed in a bid to get the insurance company, Zurich, to pay out £3.34 million for environmental remediation at Dalfad mine. Instead the company is now only liable for £1.67 million or less. The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 13 July 2014 The cast-off clothes that people give to charity shops are swamping the African republic of Ghana, destroying its native textile industry and threatening its culture. About 90 per cent of the shirts, trousers, dresses, shoes and other garments donated to High Street shops end up being exported, mostly to Africa. Ghana is the biggest recipient and calls the trade ‘obroni wawu’ - literally meaning ‘white men’s dead clothes’. Some... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 10 July 2014 With Edinburgh about to enjoy its annual Festival invasion, you’d think that the city’s Waverley railway station would be keen to welcome all visitors. Not so, it seems. The station’s operator, Network Rail, has introduced new access arrangements that have infuriated cyclists, come under sustained attack from politicians and earned it the label “Fortress Waverley”. Cyclists used to be able to ride in and out of the station via... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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06 July 2014 A promise to introduce low air pollution zones to protect the health of athletes and spectators at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow has been broken. The Games, due to open on 23 July, were still being branded last week as having “low emission zones” around ten city venues. But no such zones are in fact being designated because organisers have had to quietly backtrack on their plans to make Glasgow 2014 environmentally... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 06 July 2014 A power company’s plan to change the rules so it can ship nuclear waste to and fro across Scotland’s central belt has been condemned as a “nightmare vision”. The French nuclear energy firm, EDF Energy, is applying for new authorisations to allow radioactive waste to be transported by road between its two nuclear power stations at Hunterston in North Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian. The company wants the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 29 June 2014 A leading group of 16 academics and experts has made a powerful plea for Scotland to have much more control over its energy policy to escape Westminster’s backing for “bankrupt” nuclear power. Energy specialists from universities in Aberdeen, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Manchester, Cardiff and London have written a joint letter to the Sunday Herald arguing that Scotland should gain control over “a large portion” of the financial incentives for... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 22 June 2014 The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has come under fire for being a “toothless watchdog” in the wake of a fierce row over the activities of boatloads of divers in a national nature reserve. NTS owns and manages St Abb’s Head on the Berwickshire coast, home to one of the largest mainland breeding seabird colonies in the UK. But the steep rocky inlets that characterise the headland have also... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 22 June 2014 The UK government’s new Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh is facing its first protests for backing the burning of millions of tonnes of wood from abroad in power stations. MSPs from three political parties, environmental groups and community representatives have this weekend written to the bank saying they are “deeply concerned” that it is supporting big biomass plants. Demonstrations are also planned at its annual meetings in Edinburgh and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 22 June 2014 Amidst mounting worries about disappearing bees, one hardy, ginger-fringed bumblebee is bucking the trend by spreading north. The tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) has been detected in eastern Scotland for the first time, providing new evidence that this distinctive, foreign bee is establishing a foothold north of the border. Tree bumblebees arrived in the south of England from France in 2001. Since then they have gradually colonised the country, and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 19 June 2014 US forces fired depleted uranium (DU) weapons at civilian areas and troops in Iraq in breach of official advice meant to prevent “unnecessary suffering” in conflicts, says a new report. Coordinates revealing where US jets and tanks fired nearly 10,000 DU rounds in Iraq during the war in 2003 have been obtained by the Dutch peace group, PAX. This is the first time that any US DU firing coordinates... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 15 June 2014 Eight beaches across Scotland officially condemned as “poor” because their polluted bathing waters make people sick have been given prizes for “good water quality” by the government-backed charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB). Another 12 bathing waters contaminated by human and animal faeces and rated as merely “sufficient” by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) have also won KSB’s much-trumpeted seaside awards for 2014. The awards have been denounced as... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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11 June 2014 Britain’s nuclear bomb factories have had three safety awards withdrawn because of a major fire, and they are now under investigation for faulty fire alarms in radioactive waste buildings. AWE, a private consortium that operates nuclear weapons facilities at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire for the Ministry of Defence, has been forced to return “gold awards” it won from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). This follows a £200,000... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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Comment, from Sunday Herald, 08 June 2014 by Yeb Sano, climate change commissioner for the Philippines If more communities are to avoid the destructive impacts of storms and typhoons caused by climate change - like the one that devastated my homeland - then developed countries like Scotland must deliver on their promises to cut their emissions. They need to set a positive example, demonstrating that a transition to a low carbon economy is not only... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 08 June 2014 The Scottish government is coming under mounting pressure to make new cuts in climate pollution as it faces failing to meet its statutory targets for reducing emissions for the third year running. An unprecedented alliance of all the opposition parties is privately urging Scottish ministers to agree moves that would cut carbon pollution from vehicles, farms, houses and government. At the same time, a Philippine diplomat Yeb Sano, famed... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 05 June 2014 The UK government drew up a "top secret" list of 106 cities, towns and military bases across the country as "probable nuclear targets" in the early 1970s, according to documents released by the National Archives. During the cold war, a list of the places thought likely to come under nuclear attack by the Soviet Union was agreed by military commanders, the intelligence services and the Cabinet Office under Conservative... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 01 June 2014 Up to three-quarters of elderly people living in rural areas of Scotland are suffering fuel poverty and are “falling through the cracks” in government policy, according to an expert report to be launched tomorrow. Growing numbers of old people on the islands and in countryside regions are struggling to meet escalating bills for heating their homes. They are much worse off than old people in urban areas, with many... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from New Scientist, 28 May 2014 As dusk falls, Grangemouth starts to glow. Cloaked in clouds of steam and lit by flares like giant candles, Scotland's biggest oil refinery has a strange beauty. Situated roughly halfway between Edinburgh and Glasgow on the Firth of Forth, the 700-hectare petrochemical complex is a vital hub of UK oil production. Should Scotland vote for independence, it will be one of the new government's key assets. According to the... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 25 May 2014 Scotland will soon end its moratorium on the controversial technology of fracking with a major boom in bids to drill for shale gas across the central belt, according to energy companies, experts and environmentalists. An investigation by the Sunday Herald has uncovered widespread agreement that the hydraulic fracturing of underground rocks to extract shale gas - so far avoided north of the border – is now on its way,... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 25 May 2014 A coal gas company involving the UK’s biggest private landowner, the Duke of Buccleuch, has been accused of “bullying” after it slapped a fierce legal gag on a lone environmental campaigner. Lawyers acting for Five Quarter, a Newcastle-based company that wants to exploit gas in coal seams under the seabed, have threatened to sue Ayrshire mother-of-two, Mel Kelly, for “malicious falsehood”. Buccleuch has an eight per cent stake in... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 25 May 2014 For the first time in Scotland a wind farm has been officially blamed for killing an eagle, the Sunday Herald can reveal. A white-tailed sea eagle, reintroduced as part of a nature conservation programme, was found dead in February at Burnfoot Hill wind farm in the Ochil hills near Tillicoutry in Clackmannanshire. A post mortem by government-approved scientists concluded that a “likely cause of death” was collision with a... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2014 at Rob Edwards