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Rob Edwards
Edinburgh, Scotland
I'm a freelance environmental journalist.
Recent Activity
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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 4 days ago 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 4 days ago 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
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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 Jan 25, 2015 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 Jan 25, 2015 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 Jan 25, 2015 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 Jan 20, 2015 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 Jan 20, 2015 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 Jan 19, 2015 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