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Rob Edwards
Edinburgh, Scotland
I'm a freelance environmental journalist.
Recent Activity
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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 yesterday at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 25 January 2015 A bitter behind-the-scenes row between two leading nationalists about exploiting onshore gas has resulted in a complaint to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, the Sunday Herald can reveal. The south Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine, has privately protested about the behaviour of the Scottish energy minister, Fergus Ewing, after he carpeted her for criticising the Duke of Buccleuch’s plans to mine coalbed methane at Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway. Ewing’s... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 25 January 2015 Plans to exploit onshore gas in Scotland by mining coalbed methane or fracking look doomed after the SNP and Labour both moved to ban them yesterday. The SNP disclosed that its MPs in Westminster would be voting for a moratorium on both technologies to make sure that no licences are granted before powers are devolved. If agreed, the moratorium could last between 18 and 30 months. Labour said that... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Rob Edwards
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for Sunday Herald, 25 January 2015 Scotland’s planning and regulatory system has failed to protect the community of Canonbie from the dangers of underground gas exploitation by the Duke of Buccleuch, say residents and campaigners. The whole process has been “deeply flawed” and government assurances have turned out to be “meaningless”, they claim. A formal complaint against the planning authority, Dumfries and Galloway Council, is under investigation by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. Planning permissions... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Rob Edwards
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Exclusive, 20 January 2015 One of Scotland's nuclear reactors had to be unexpectedly shut down on Christmas Day because of a faulty valve, its operator has said. In a letter to stakeholders yesterday, EDF Energy disclosed that reactor number 4 at the Hunterston B nuclear power station in North Ayrshire was taken offline just after 11am on 25 December "after an issue with a pneumatic valve when its air supply line failed". "We decided to... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Hesamag, January 2015 Three workers in trouble At the age of 45 Dipti feels her life is starting to fall apart. She is finding her job as a secretary increasingly difficult because her eyesight is deteriorating. She has type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and is overweight. John (25) is having trouble coping with his work in a call centre. He is under pressure to meet performance targets, works long hours and gets stressed.... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 19 January 2015 Freedom of information rights have been seriously eroded over the last ten years because governments have failed to ensure that the law has kept pace with privatisation, Scotland’s information tsar is warning. Rosemary Agnew, the Scottish Information Commissioner, criticises ministers for not applying freedom of information (FoI) legislation to housing associations, private prisons and many other organisations that have taken over public services. Powers to extend the law have... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 18 January 2015 Whisky and golf, two industries that help define Scotland around the globe, have been exposed as major environmental offenders by a government watchdog. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has condemned the performance of distilleries and golf courses across the country as “poor” because they have broken the rules by taking more water than permitted. Farmers and other businesses have also come under fire. Sepa has further criticised more... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 13 January 2015 The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been accused of a “callous disregard for public safety” after a big nuclear bomb convoy was tracked driving through Glasgow and across the Erskine Bridge in appalling weather conditions on Sunday night. The 20-vehicle convoy, including four high-sided heavy-duty weapons carriers, a fire engine, armoured personnel carriers and MoD police guards, arrived at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport on Loch Long... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 11 January 2015 Toxic fumes from vehicle exhausts are breaching legal safety limits on 23 busy streets and endangering the health of people across Scotland, according to the latest government monitoring. Hazardous concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and tiny particles belched out by cars, lorries and buses have been found in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Greenock, Rutherglen, Kilmarnock, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Perth, Crieff and elsewhere in 2014. On 11 streets the annual average... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 11 January 2015 The dangerous levels of air pollution endured by hundreds of schoolchildren in a suburb of Edinburgh will be made worse by traffic from a planned new Waitrose supermarket, say local residents. The up-market retailer is due to submit a planning application later this month for a major new store on St John’s Road in Corstorphine. But official figures show that this is already one of the most badly polluted... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 11 January 2015 Plans to extend bylaws curbing camping in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs national park have been savaged as badly crafted, cynical and shameful by a leading former police chief. The fierce attack by Kevin Findlater, the chief inspector who led the policing of Loch Lomond before he retired in 2013, threatens to undermine the park authority’s bid to ban camping without a permit on loch shores and roadsides across... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 07 January 2015 A secret decision by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to end a safety ban preventing nuclear submarines from using two lochs on the west coast of Scotland has sparked alarm amongst local residents, politicians and campaigners. The National can reveal that Trident-armed and nuclear-powered submarines have returned to Loch Goil, off Loch Long on the Firth of Clyde, and are now able to return to Loch Ewe, off Poolewe... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2015 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald 21 December 2014 The Scottish opencast coal industry is facing a renewed crisis that could leave communities and landscapes across Scotland devastated, leading politicians and environmentalists are warning. The crisis has already forced the Scottish government to reverse a decision to wind up its opencast coal task force last week, and prompted a bitter political row. The task force, involving governments, councils and trade unions, will now reconvene next year to try... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 21 December 2014 Environmental groups have banded together in a last ditch bid to save rare mushrooms, mosses, orchids, ants and bumblebees from three proposed housing developments in the Cairngorms National Park. Fourteen groups have written to Scottish ministers urging them to block the building of 73 houses in Carrbridge and Nethy Bridge because they will destroy precious wildlife sites. They want the developments to be deleted from the latest version of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from New Scientist, 09 December 2014 Barriers to Bioweapons: The challenges of expertise and organization for weapons development by Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley, published by Cornell University Press for $39.95. Unmaking the Bomb: A fissile material approach to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation by Harold A. Feiveson, Alexander Glaser, Zia Mian and Frank N. von Hippel, published by MIT Press for $30/£20.95. It is called Fogbank and it is a type of foam – toxic, explosive and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 14 December 2014 Nuclear power stations across the UK have been unexpectedly shut down 20 times a year because of faults, cracks, seaweed and other problems, sparking fears that they can’t keep the lights on. An analysis for local authorities says that 15 reactors have had 62 unplanned shutdowns in the last three years. They have been hit by electrical, boiler and valve defects, fires, storms, vibrations and the discovery of tiny... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 14 December 2014 The Queen’s estate at Balmoral in Aberdeenshire has won a nature award from landowners despite the fact that its natural woodland, heaths and bogs have been officially condemned as being in a poor state. Environment and land rights campaigners have slammed the award as a “meaningless public relations stunt”. Called Wildlife Estates Scotland, it was set up by Scottish Land and Estates, which represents landowners. The award was accepted... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 14 December 2014 Landowners have come under fire from the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) for illegally killing birds of prey, culling too many mountain hares and bulldozing too many hill tracks. A new approach to moorland management agreed by the park board on Friday also criticises landowners for erecting fences across hillsides without consulting their neighbours. The fences can harm wildlife, as can the poorly managed burning of heather, the CNPA... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from The Guardian, 09 December 2014 The Scottish government has been accused of abandoning wave power after one leading company has been forced into administration and another has had to shed most of its staff. Pelamis, developers of a floating offshore wave energy converter that looks like a large red sea snake, collapsed suddenly into administration on 21 November, with the subsequent loss of 40 jobs. Aquamarine, which is behind a yellow near-shore device known... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 07 December 2014, from Bhopal The former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, put pressure on the Indian government to agree a legal settlement that let the US chemical company, Union Carbide, off the hook for the 25,000 people killed by the toxic gas disaster in Bhopal 30 years ago. A letter released under freedom of information legislation reveals that the late Indian steel magnate, J R D Tata, wrote secretly to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 07 December 2014, from Bhopal It was Sajid’s furry, orange babygrow stretched out inside the black museum case that triggered the agony. Oblivious of the people crowded around, his mother, Bismilla Bee, started shaking with loud sobs, rising and falling, as the painful memories came flooding back. Her son died 30 years ago last week in the babygrow, choking on the poison gas that spewed from Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in Bhopal,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 07 December 2014, from Bhopal The man behind a new blockbuster film launched in India on Friday telling the grim story of the Bhopal toxic gas disaster has taken out multi-million dollar insurance against being sued. Director Ravi Kumar is worried about facing legal action from Dow, the US chemical company that took over Union Carbide, the managers of the pesticide plant that leaked 30 years ago and killed 25,000 people in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from The National, 03 December 2014, from Bhopal The campaign for justice for survivors of the world’s worst industrial accident in Bhopal, India, 30 years ago today has been backed by a powerful alliance of trade unions and city councils from Scotland. A delegation of six trade unions, including Unite, Unison and Communication Workers Union, is in Bhopal this week to show their solidarity with the local communities who have been fighting to make the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2014 at Rob Edwards
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from Sunday Herald, 30 November 2014 Scottish ministers are coming under urgent pressure from an SNP-led committee of MSPs to end their repeated failure to meet climate targets by making major cuts in pollution from farming, housing and transport. Farmers need to reduce their use of polluting chemical fertilisers, householders should be helped to better insulate old and leaky homes and motorists persuaded to opt for cleaner electric and hybrid cars, MSPs say. In a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2014 at Rob Edwards