Edinburgh News: environment
The two consortia bidding to build a new bridge across the Forth have submitted their final proposals to Transport Scotland for consideration before the contract is awarded in April.
Edinburgh residents can now recycle plastic bottles and old batteries using the council's kerbside pick-up. From this Monday, 31 January, plastic bottles will be picked up from the red kerbside boxes while batteries will be picked up from the blue kerbside boxes for recycling.
China has given "a gift" of a breeding pair of giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo. A historic agreement was signed today which will see the first giant pandas reside in the UK for 17 years. Witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and Vice Premier of China, Li Keqiang, the agreement was signed at Lancaster House in London by Donald Emslie, chairman of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), which owns Edinburgh Zoo, and the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA).
The Met Office has today confirmed that December 2010 was not only Scotland's coldest December on record, but that it was also the second coldest month that the country has experienced in 100 years, beaten only by February 1947.
Christmas day in Edinburgh 2010 was "white" by both definitions: the city was covered in snow and the Met Office officially recorded snow flakes falling in the city. At least one flake must fall on 25th December for it to be technically called "A White Christmas" as far as the bookies are concerned.
Has day-to-day freezing ice and snow become the new normal? It seems to have been going on for ever. First it was Snowvember, now De-icember, in what has been the worst weather conditions in living memory. With climatologists (such as former government chief scientific advisor David King) suggesting that cold winters come in multiple years, we may need to get used to these bitterly cold conditions.
Edinburgh residents woke up this morning to find the city had reverted to winter snow conditions again.
Scotland's main railway company Scotrail has come up with a novel way of dealing with the kind of freezing conditions that caused most of its trains North to grind to a halt in plummeting temperatures around a week ago. It is going to dress its trains in warm skirts.
After the deep freeze on the roads, the political heat proved too much. Stewart Stevenson was forced to resign from his ministerial post yesterday.
As recent snow turns to slush, life in Edinburgh is returning to normal. However, the thaw has brought its own problems, as snow loosens and slides off roofs, and spear-like icicles relinquish their grip on gutters and overhangs and fall on pavements below.
Following days of heavy snow earlier this week and last week, Edinburgh roof tops were covered in unusually thick blankets of white.
Three days after Scotland's "perfect storm" (as Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson has dubbed Monday's transport network seizure), conditions look to be getting better.
After a freezing night, slightly warmer temperatures of 1C or 2C are forecast in Edinburgh for Thursday with roads and pavements still icy.
Travel disruption is continuing across Scotland. Edinburgh was around -13C last night and the Met Office is forecasting a high of -6C during the day. Obviously, the problem on roads is ice, not just snow with traffic crawling along.