A £500 million plan to build the world’s most expensive and most luxurious get-away for global billionaires in rural Perthshire is running into fierce opposition.
Malcolm James, a property developer from Cornwall, is about to apply for planning permission for an unusual hotel, housing and leisure complex on the south shores of Loch Rannoch.
As well as plush suites, houses on stilts and an underwater restaurant, the complex will include an upmarket shopping centre, a golf course, a concert hall, a spa and a private plastic surgery clinic. “It will be a super-luxury resort for the super-rich,” James told the Sunday Herald.
Rocketing pollution caused by air travel from Scotland could wreck the government’s attempts to cut the emissions that are disrupting the climate, according to a new study.
If the number of passengers flying from Scottish airports increases as predicted, emissions from planes could end up swamping those from all other sources - and sabotaging ministers’ plans to reduce climate pollution 80% by 2050.
The revelation has reinforced calls from campaigners for aviation to be fully included in the forthcoming Scottish climate change bill. If it is not, they warn, the bill could be “completely ineffective”.
They were killed off more than 400 years ago, and snubbed by the last government - but now they are coming home.
A historic plan to bring beavers back to Scotland will today be given the go-ahead by the Scottish environment minister, Michael Russell. Up to four families of the dam-building mammals will be released around lochs in an Argyll woodland next spring.
Russell has swept aside objections from landowners and overturned the former Scottish Executive’s decision to reject the return of the beaver. He is keen to oversee what would be Scotland’s first ever planned reintroduction of a mammal to the wild.
Private companies could pocket up to £50 billion in profits from investing in schools, hospitals and other public building projects, an investigation by the Sunday Herald has revealed.
Local authorities, health trusts and other public agencies will end up paying up to twice as much as they need to for the 700 developments planned or built under the UK government’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI).
The revelations, based on tens of thousands of pages released under freedom of information laws, have confirmed critics’ worst fears. PFI has turned out to be “a huge scam”, “a total taxpayer rip-off” and “a cynical accounting fiddle”, they say.
Two shipments of potentially dangerous waste en route to Africa have been seized by Scotland’s environment watchdog, the Sunday Herald can reveal.
The shipments are now under investigation by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) as part of a major new crackdown on illegal waste exports. This is the first time that such action has been taken in Scotland.
It’s wild, it’s out there and it matters to almost everybody, even if they hardly ever see it.
Scotland’s remote and untamed mountains, moors and glens have been given overwhelming backing in a major new opinion poll for the government’s conservation agency, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
Over 90% of people interviewed from across the country said they thought that it was important for Scotland to have wild places. Of the 1,304 who were questioned, only six suggested that wild land was not important.
It must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Take the plutonium produced by nuclear power stations, mix it with uranium and make it into a new fuel for reactors to burn. Call it nuclear recycling, so that it sounds environmentally friendly.
That - or something like it - was the rationale for the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to give the go ahead in 2001 to the Sellafield MOX Plant (SMP). Costing an eventual £490 million to build, this was meant to convert Britain’s stockpile of foreign plutonium into a mixed oxide fuel for selling back to foreign customers.
Blair took the decision against the advice of his then environment minister, Michael Meacher and environmental groups. But it was a boost for the flagging nuclear industry and, in retrospect, a foretaste of the government’s current enthusiasm for a new nuclear power programme.
Pollution could go undetected, contamination unchecked and toxic waste unscrutinised in the most serious crisis to be faced by Scotland’s official environment watchdog.
Tomorrow, staff at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are due to begin an unprecedented campaign of industrial action which could see the environment suffer as incidents occurring outside office hours are not covered.
Concerned about the risks, SEPA’s management has made a last-minute plea for exemptions to the industrial action. This is due to be discussed at a meeting with the trade union, Unison, on Monday morning.
Wildlife is being damaged by the construction of a cycleway through one of the most precious and protected natural habitats in Scotland, conservationists have warned.
Work to drive a five-kilometre track through Rothiemurchus forest in the Cairngorms National Park is putting red squirrels, wood ants and ancient Caledonian pines at risk, they say, and amounts to “environmental vandalism”.
But this is disputed by the three public agencies who are overseeing the cycleway. They insist that the damage is “minimal” and that the project will bring long term gains.
Children living near nuclear plants run a higher risk of getting cancer, according to three major new studies by scientists from Germany and the US.
The studies have re-ignited the decades-old debate over whether radiation leaking from nuclear power and weapons sites increases the incidence of childhood leukaemia in the surrounding area.
Experts say that the new evidence greatly strengthens the case for releasing a detailed breakdown of leukaemia rates amongst children in the south west of Scotland to help find out if they have suffered from nuclear pollution.
According to SEPA and local councils, this is because the waste is contaminated with plastic, tree trunks and other items that can’t be composted. They are urging members of the public to be more careful about what they put in organic bins.
It is good, if somewhat unexpected, to be here. I am not a government minister, in fact more often a government critic. So it’s hard to resist a platform which could have been Richard Lochhead’s or Michael Russell’s. I wish Richard Lochhead well with he and his wife’s new baby.
Like any good opening speaker, I'll start with some jokes, and I'll assume you're broadminded. Composting: in crude terms, in one sense, maybe stretching definitions a little, what we’re talking about here is shit - and boy are there lots of jokes about that. I particularly like the way the simple word can be used to help define almost any human framework of belief.