Over the next week, The Herald and The Ferret are taking an in-depth look at the country's climate challenges with our 'How Green is Scotland?' investigation.

Our subscribers will get exclusive access as we look to answer the pressing questions in Scotland's climate crisis fight.

As the COP26 conference looms on the horizon, we will leave no stone unturned in a bid to stimulate discussion and debate on this crucial topic.

From the hundreds of sites and big-name companies that broke environmental rules, to the most polluted streets in Scotland, readers can expect ground-breaking exclusives, in-depth analysis, and interactive content – as well as regular live videos, giving you the chance to speak directly with the award-winning reporters behind the stories.

Here, you can find every article published in the week-long investigation so far - with this piece being updated daily with new exclusive stories.

To make sure you do not miss out on the high-quality insight, join us today by taking out a subscription for just £2 for two months here.

Day One

Scotland's big-name polluters named-and-shamed as leaked report damns 400 sites

The Herald:

More than 400 industrial sites across Scotland have been officially damned as “unsatisfactory” on pollution, according to data from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) seen by The Ferret.

Sepa assessed the environmental performance of two big oil companies, ExxonMobil and Ineos, as “very poor” in 2019. A Grangemouth chemical plant and a Coupar Angus chicken processor were rated as “poor”.

Read the full exclusive report here.

Leaked data reveals over 40 fish firms 'unsatisfactory' over environmental breaches

The Herald:

More than one in ten of Scotland’s fish farms have been rated as “unsatisfactory" by the Scottish Government’s environmental watchdog because of pollution, pesticide and reporting breaches, we can today reveal.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has assessed over 40 of some 400 salmon farms around the coast as either “very poor”, “poor” or “at risk” because they broke, or threatened to break, environmental rules in 2019.

The exclusive revelations can be read here in full.

Mapped: The top sites in Scotland damned by environment watchdog — and where

The Herald:

WE can today reveal the top sites across Scotland that have been officially deemed "unsatisfactory" on pollution by Scotland's environmental watchdog. 

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) damned the performance of more than 400 sites including Trump Turnberry, Ineos, and Faslane nuclear base.

View the full interactive map of sites here.

Day Two

Scotland's wildlife and habitats at risk with more than 1100 in 'poor' state

The Herald:

More than 1,100 of Scotland's wildlife species and natural habitats are in a "poor" condition, and dozens of the nation’s protected sites have been damaged by climate change, we can reveal.

Ahead of the COP26 conference in Glasgow, our joint investigation with The Ferret reveals that 531 habitats and 603 species in Scotland are in poor condition. We also found that climate change has impacted 43 protected sites and 76 natural features.

Read the full exclusive report here.

Seven protected areas in Scotland affected by climate change

The Herald:

DOZENS of Scotland's protected sites have been damaged by climate change, we can reveal today.

The long term decline of Scotland’s wildlife was documented in a report in 2019 called the State of Nature which claimed one in nine species - including kittiwakes and wildcats - was threatened with extinction.

View the full map here.

From wildcats to hedgehogs: 10 of Scotland's species under threat

The Herald:

MORE than 530 habitats and 600 species in Scotland are in "poor" condition, we can reveal.

Environmental and wildlife groups are calling for urgent action to combat the twin climate change and wildlife crises and help preserve Scotland’s natural heritage.

View the list in full here.

Day Three

Scotland's most polluted streets exposed — with toxic readings rising in worst areas

Almost a third of Scotland’s streets have higher levels of toxic particle air pollution than they did before the Covid-19 pandemic, analysis can reveal.  

The Herald:

The “appalling findings” show the levels of air pollution caused by small particles – known as particulate matter 10 (PM10) and largely due to traffic pollution – increased in 31 per cent of average readings taken this year, when compared with data from 2019. 

View the full exclusive report here.

New environmental watchdog to launch Scotland-wide air pollution probe

Air pollution is to be the subject of a Scotland-wide investigation – the first to be carried out by the country's new environmental watchdog, we can reveal. 

The Herald:

Environment Standards Scotland (ESS), an independent body which came into force on 1 October to oversee environmental law post-Brexit, confirmed the "intractable issue" which has plagued Scotland for “over a decade” would be the focus of its first major piece of work. 

Read the full story here.

Life inside one of Scotland's most polluted streets

The traffic is at a standstill on Atholl Street in the centre of Perth, cars, trucks and buses running their engines as they wait for the lights to change.   

The Herald:

For years this city street – with its mixture of shops, cafes and homes – has been amongst Scotland’s most polluted due to levels of particulate matter (PM10). Nitrogen dioxide readings are as high as many on the streets of Scotland’s biggest cities. Exposure to high levels of both pollutants has been linked to increased risk of health conditions like asthma, strokes and even dementia.  

Read the full case study here.

'Dear Nicola Sturgeon: Air pollution action is needed now to save lives'

In an open letter to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, published as part of our joint investigation, over 60 leading health professionals – including consultants, GPs and medical academics – are calling for more action to be taken on air pollution to save lives. 

The Herald:

Councils must enforce laws, they say, air monitoring should be increased, including outside schools, while the Scottish Government should invest more heavily in active travel, public transport and green infrastructure.

Read the letter in full here.

Day Four

'Unacceptable': Scotland's rivers and lochs in the worst state on record

Scotland’s rivers, lochs, canals and burns are in the worst state on record, with more than 400 damaged by pollution and other problems, according to the latest official analysis. 

The Herald:

New assessment methods used by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) have more than doubled the number of waterways classified as “bad” between 2018 and 2019. There are “significant environmental problems caused by a number of pressures,” Sepa said.

Read the full exclusive report here.

Scotland's best and worst rivers and lochs for pollution revealed

SCOTLAND'S worst rivers, lochs, canals and burns for pollution have been revealed in new analysis of official watchdog data.

The Herald:

Amongst the many rivers rated as either bad or poor by Sepa are some of Scotland’s most well-known. They include long stretches of the Almond, Carron, Dee, Don, Earn, Esk, Kelvin, Lossie, Nairn, Nith, Spey, Tay, Tummel, and Water of Leith. 

Find how your local river or loch ranks using our interactive tool

Scotland's waters risk becoming 'open sewer' as key sites damned by watchdog

Nearly 50 sites run by Scottish Water including sewage and wastewater treatment are “poor”, “very poor” or “at risk”, according to Scotland’s environmental watchdog. 

The Herald:

Almost all these “unsatisfactory” sites are considered to be among Scotland’s critical national infrastructure – operations deemed essential for the state to deliver vital public services.  

Read the full story here.

Day Five


SNP slammed as five of seven key climate targets missed


Today, we reveal the Scottish Government has missed its targets on reducing climate emissions in five of the seven sectors set out in its 2018 plan to tackle climate change.

The Herald:

Environmental activists said the missed targets painted a “disappointing picture of widespread failure” on emissions reductions. They worry that static or increasing annual emissions in key sectors mean Scotland risks squandering good progress made in other areas.

Read the full exclusive report here.

SNP-Green government must take 'radical action' to hit climate targets


The Scottish Government must take “radical action” on green job creation and ending fuel poverty if it is to achieve a Just Transition to net-zero carbon emissions, trade unions say

The Herald:

The Scottish low carbon economy provided 21,400 jobs in 2019, the most recent data available, a nearly five per cent decrease from 2018. It was also fewer than the 22,800 roles provided by the sector in 2015.

Read the story in full here.