I am a freelance journalist specialising in environmental issues with more than 30 years experience. I have written for New Statesman, The Observer, The Mail, The Sunday Times, Scotland on Sunday, The Scotsman, The Glasgow Herald, the Edinburgh Evening News and others. Since 1999 I have been the environment editor of the Sunday Herald and a correspondent for New Scientist and The Guardian. I am a founder member of the new investigative journalism platform, The Ferret. I have also produced TV programmes, given many talks, chaired conferences and been regularly interviewed on radio, television and elsewhere. I have co-authored three books about nuclear power, and won a series of awards. I am a member of the National Union of Journalists, and live in Edinburgh, Scotland.
13 October 1953 in Liverpool, England.
1966 -1972: Watford Boys Grammar School
1973 -1976: Jesus College, Cambridge (MA English Literature)
1977-78: Organiser, Scottish Campaign to Resist the Atomic Menace (SCRAM)
1978-80: Campaigns Organiser, Shelter (Scotland)
1980-83: Research Assistant to Robin Cook MP
1981-83: Scottish Correspondent, Social Work Today
1982-85: Co-ordinator, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) at Sizewell Inquiry
1983-88: Scottish Correspondent, New Statesman
1988-93: Scottish Correspondent, The Guardian
1988-94: Columnist, Edinburgh Evening News
1989-94: Environment Editor, Scotland on Sunday
1993: Producer, Children Under Fire (documentary for Channel 4)
1994-96: German Correspondent, New Scientist, Scotland on Sunday, The Scotsman
1999: Producer, CCTV (documentary for Channel 4)
1996- Consultant, New Scientist
1999- Environment Editor, Sunday Herald
2009- Correspondent, The Guardian
1989: Regional Journalist of the Year, British Environment and Media Awards
1992: Specially Commended, British Environment and Media Awards
1993: Commended, Industrial Society Environment Award
1993: Commended, UK Press Gazette Regional Awards
2001: Newspaper of the Year (Sunday Herald), British Environment and Media Awards
2002: Environment Winner, NetMedia European Online Journalism Awards
2005: Listed, Paul Foot Award
2006: Shortlisted, Journalist of the Year, British Environment and Media Awards
2006: Decided not to enter for further awards
2009: Listed as one of Scotland's 50 green champions
1982: Fuelling the Nuclear Arms Race (Pluto Press, with Sheila Durie)
1985: Nuclear Power Nuclear Weapons: The Deadly Connection (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament)
1988: Britain’s Nuclear Nightmare (Sphere Books, with James Cutler)
1995: Still Fighting for Gemma (Bloomsbury, with Susan D'Arcy)
Member of the National Union of Journalists
Listed in Debrett's People of Today and Who's Who in Scotland
Married, with two daughters, and fond of music and muckraking
Declaration of interests
I am self-employed, and my annual accounts are prepared by an accountant. Since April 2013, in common with other freelance writers, I have made annual declarations of interests. As well as being a member of the National Union of Journalists, I am a member of the Socialist Environment and Resources Association and joined Friends of the Earth Scotland as a life member more than two decades ago. I am also a member of the Friends of the Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill. I do not belong to any political party, I do not own any company shares and I am not registered for VAT.
In the tax year that ended in April 2012, I was paid a total of £35,467 by more than a dozen different employers. That included £23,505 from the Sunday Herald, £4,885 from The Guardian, £1,750 from Channel 4 News, £1,288 from Firecrest Films, £882 from publishers via the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society and £865 from other newspapers, magazines and broadcasters. I also received £2,292 in fees and expenses for giving talks, chairing and attending meetings, including £746 in travel and accommodation costs from the European Parliament in Brussels.
In the same year I spent £7,074 in expenses, including £2,769 on travel, £1,728 on telephone and internet charges, £1,210 in office expenses, £816 on newspapers, £400 in accountancy fees and £151 on stationery, postage and copying. As a result my profit from self-employment in 2011-12 came to £28,383. I also received rental income of £2,598 from a flat jointly owned with my partner, £200 from a family friend’s trust fund, £55 in bank interest and £50 for giving two lectures at Napier University. With adjustments for earnings and tax payments in previous years, I paid HM Revenue and Customs £5,300 in tax for the year.
In the tax year that ended in April 2013, I was paid a total of £30,573 by more than a dozen different employers. That included £19,754 from the Sunday Herald, £3,700 from The Guardian, £2,121 from the European Trade Union Institute for an article in Hesamag, £821 from Firecrest Films, £751 from the BBC, £609 from the Scottish Wildlife Trust for articles in Wildlife magazine, £325 from publishers via the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society and £546 from other publishers and broadcasters. I also received £1,946 in fees and expenses from universities and others for giving talks, chairing and attending meetings.
In the same year I spent £6,306 in expenses, including £2,133 on travel, £1,075 on telephone and internet charges, £1,194 in office expenses, £1,095 on newspapers, £400 in accountancy fees, £214 on stationery, postage and copying and £195 on a subscription to the National Union of Journalists. As a result my profit from self-employment came to £24,267. I also received rental income of £3,359 from a flat jointly owned with my partner, £500 from a family friend’s trust fund and £31 in bank interest. With adjustments for earnings and tax payments in previous years, I paid HM Revenue and Customs £4,762 in tax for the year.
In the tax year that ended in April 2014, I was paid a total of £30,420 by more than a dozen different employers. That included £22,405 from the Sunday Herald, £1,984 from The Guardian, £1,154 from the Electoral Reform Society for writing a report, £911 from independent film production companies, £346 from the BBC, £526 from publishers via the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society and £283 from other publishers and broadcasters. I also received £2,811 in fees and expenses from universities and others for giving talks, chairing and attending meetings.
In the same year I spent £6,038 in expenses, including £2,141 on travel, £792 on telephone and internet charges, £1,412 in office expenses, £913 on newspapers, £400 in accountancy fees, £175 on stationery, postage and copying and £205 on a subscription to the National Union of Journalists. As a result my profit from self-employment came to £24,382. I also received rental income of £4,263 from a flat jointly owned with my partner, £200 from a family friend’s trust fund and £25 in bank interest. With adjustments for earnings and tax payments in previous years, I paid HM Revenue and Customs £5,358 in tax for the year.
"I do not see how a reporter attempting to define a situation involving some sort of ethical conflict can do it with sufficient demonstrable neutrality to fulfil some arbitrary concept of 'objectivity'. It never occurred to me in such a situation, to be other than subjective, and as obviously so as I could manage to be...As I see it, the journalist is obliged to present his attitude as vigorously and persuasively as he can, insisting that it is his attitude, to be examined and criticised in the light of every contrary argument, which he need not accept but must reveal."
James Cameron, Point of Departure, Oriel Press, 1967.
“Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it's still here. So get out there...and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breath deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.”
Edward Abbey (1927-1989).