Scotland

Your chance to whale-watch in Scotland!

Brendan Montague
| 18th July 2017
For over 40 years, Sea Watch Foundation scientists as well as volunteer observers all around the UK’s coast have been reporting on whales, dolphins and porpoises –collectively known as cetaceans – to inform Sea Watch’s huge database of records.

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Total tax received from the North Sea oil and gas sector 1968-2017, not adjusted for inflation. Includes petroleum revenue tax, ringfence corporation tax, supplementary charge, royalty and gas levy. Figure for 2016-17 covers 11 months to February 2017. So

North Sea oil industry cost UK taxpayers £400m last year, and counting

Simon Evans
Carbon Brief
| 5th April 2017
The whole idea of North Sea oil was to make Britain rich, writes Simon Evans. At least that's how it all began. But now ... it cost UK taxpayers a massive £396 million a year in tax breaks and subsidies to keep the industry alive last year. And there's no reason to think that's going to turn around any time soon.

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Photo: FromSandToGlass via Flickr (CC BY).

Exposed: Coca Cola's big 'fight back' against tackling plastic waste

Maeve McClenaghan
Greenpeace Energydesk
| 2nd February 2017
A Greenpeace investigation has exposed the massive efforts of global food and drink giant Coca Cola to defeat popular proposals to require deposits on single-use plastic bottles, writes Maeve McClenaghan. In fact, deposit schemes are working fine in many countries in which the company operates - it's a simple case of corporate profit before environment, oceans and wildlife.

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Greenpeace's 100% subsidiary Frack'n'go! sets up its rig in Parliament Square beneath the windows of the House of Commons, 9th February 2016. Photo: DAVID HOLT via Flickr (CC BY).

Time to give the chop to fracking: FraXit now!

Professors Peter Strachan
Alex Russell
| 19th December 2016
Fracking has no social licence in the UK, will contribute little to the economy, will have a huge adverse impact on other sectors, will be a disaster to climate and the environment, and won't even improve energy security, write Peter Strachan and Alex Russell. Do we really want to see 16,000 or more shale gas wells drilled in the British countryside? Let's FraXit now!

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Scottish beaver seen in 2008. Photo: Paul Stevenson via Flickr (CC BY).

Scotland's wild beavers win legal protection

Oliver Tickell
| 24th November 2016
The Scottish government has announced that its wild beaver populations will be given the full protection of both UK and EU law. The decision has been welcomed by campaigners who point out all the benefits of beavers to biodiversity, water management and flood control. Now, they say, England and Wales should follow suit.

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Caleb Behn. Photo: Caleb Behn / Fractured Land.

Caleb Behn: 'After oil & gas, no amount of money can restore your fractured land'

Jen Stout
| 24th November 2016
The jobs and quick money that fracking can generate may seem initially attractive, indigenous Canadian activist Caleb Behn told Jen Stout on his recent visit to Scotland. But after decades of oil and gas production, the ineradicable legacy is of fractured landscapes and long-term pollution. 'My land is bisected, divided, by pipelines, roads, well sites, pads, all that. It's really hard on my heart.'

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Red squirrel among dead bracken at Kinrara, northern Scotland. Photo: Paul Buxton via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Red squirrels return to Scotland's Caledonian forest

Oliver Tickell
| 15th November 2016
A project to reintroduce red squirrels to isolated areas of regenerating forest in the Scottish Highlands gets under way this month. This will increase both the numbers and the range of red squirrels in the UK, and help to regenerate their native Caledonian forest habitat.

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Ineos gas tanker at port. Photo: ineos.com.

Challenging the delusion of cheap, safe shale gas extraction

Alex Russell
Peter Strachan
| 20th October 2016
The UK government's insistence of pursuing fracking is based on a flawed and utterly misinformed vision of our future, write Alex Russell and Peter Strachan. Rather than delivering the prosperity they promise, large scale fracking would cause massive pollution of air and water, undermine vital export industries, and leave us with an irretrievably damaged economy and natural environment.

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Shooting grouse in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Photo: Richard Woffenden via Flickr (CC BY).

Time to close down Britain's devastating grouse-shooting industry

Eduardo Goncalves
| 18th August 2016
The disappearance of a satellite-tagged hen harrier on a Scottish grouse moor and the loss of eight Golden eagles in five years provide the latest evidence for a ban on driven grouse-shooting, writes EDUARDO GONCALVES. But birds of prey are only the most high-profile victims of a cruel and ecologically destructive industry.

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On 15th August 2015 climate protestors in Germany occupied and closed down a massive open pit coal mine in their 'Ende Gelände' action. Photo: Tim Wagner / 350.org via Flickr (CC BY).

Reclaim the power! Progress towards a fossil-free UK

Guy Shrubsole
| 29th April 2016
Momentum is gathering behind the UK's transition to a fossil free society, writes Guy Shrubsole. We know we need to leave at least 80% of proven fossil fuel reserves in the ground to avert catastrophic climate change. Here's a quick run-down of progress to date - and the key upcoming fights, including an invasion of the UK's biggest coal mine this weekend.

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Scottish wildcat out hunting at night. Photo: Adrian Bennett / Wildcat Haven.

Scotland's secret cat slaughter revealed in FOI documents

Oliver Tickell
| 12th April 2016
Documents released to Wildcat Haven reveal the secret plans of the Scottish Wildcat Action Plan - funded by taxpayers and the National Lottery - to kill trapped feral cats by shooting them in the head with shotguns. Public documents mention only neutering, successfully carried out by Wildcat Haven to protect pure wildcat populations.

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Beaver in the Highland Wildlife Park, Scotland. Photo: Dunnock_D via Flickr (CC BY-NC)

Beavers and the coming revolution in Scotland's countryside

Louise Ramsay
| 8th March 2016
After beavers' reintroduction to Scotland, landowners have accused the native rodents of damaging the environment, causing floods, and worse, writes Louise Ramsay. But the public have rallied to the cause of these charming, beneficial creatures, leaving conservative landowners isolated. Could the shift in sentiment trigger long overdue change in the Scottish countryside?

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Signs of beavers in riparian woodland near  Tumba, Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Holmberg via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Give beavers permanent British residence!

Nigel Willby
Alan Law
University of Stirling
| 28th February 2016
Beavers are Britain's native aquatic engineers and their return to sites in Scotland and England is doing wonders for the local environment, write Nigel Willby & Alan Law: restoring wetlands, recreating natural river dynamics and ecology, filtering farm pollutants from water, and improving habitat for trout and other fish.

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Beached whale in the Firth of Forth, Scotland, being removed using earth-moving equipment, September 2013. Photo: Patrick Down via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Heavy metal poisoning in Scotland's beached whales

The Ecologist
| 15th February 2016
High levels of toxins mercury and cadmium have been found in all organs of the whales recently beached on Scotland's North Sea coast, including the brain. The research shows that rising mercury levels in the oceans leads to toxic stress in the long-lived marine mammals.

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A pair of beaver dams in Bamff, Perthshire. Photo: Paul Ramsay.

Carlisle floods: bring back the trees, and the beavers!

Oliver Tickell
| 7th December 2015
The key to reducing the risk of more floods like those in Carlisle is to realise that conventional 'flood defence' can never provide security against the ever more extreme weather events that global warming will bring. We must embrace natural solutions to holding back flood waters: more trees; and bring back the beavers!

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Beavers nuzzling in the Tay Valley. Photo: Scottish Wild Beaver Group via website.

Scotland's wild beaver 'shoot to kill' policy is illegal and wrong

Louise Ramsay
| 5th December 2015
Native wild beavers in their natural range are meant to receive stringent protection under European and Scottish law, writes Louise Ramsay. But farmers have declared 'open season' on the small but growing population, shooting them at will, while the Scottish Government and its wildlife agency look the other way.

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Dulse growing on kelp as an epiphyte: a feast fit for a king. Photo, Fiona Bird.

Seaweed on the shore, seaweed in the kitchen

Fiona Bird
| 26th November 2015
Fresh or dried wild seaweed may be on sale in a supermarket near you, writes Fiona Bird. But much better than supporting what may be unsustainable harvesting, gather your own at low tide on rocky shores, picking just enough for your needs. Once a poverty food, seaweed is now a sought after ingredient that expresses the 'fifth taste', umami.

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