‘We need to guard against worse incident’

THERE was understandable concern and dismay at pollution – described by one witness as being “luminous green” – pouring into the Firth of Forth yesterday.

The estuary, after all, is more than just a scenic backdrop to the city and a vital trade link to other parts of the UK and global ports.

It is also home to some of Britain’s wildlife wonders, from 200,000 nesting seabirds to dolphins. Native oysters have even made a comeback in recent years having been declared extinct in the area for decades.

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Perhaps the biggest wonder of all is that these delicate creatures thrive alongside the bustling industry of the UK’s fourth-busiest working waterway.

That only happens because tighter environmental controls have led to dramatic improvements in the water quality. But yesterday’s incident is a reminder that we must continue to enforce these regulations rigorously.

Thankfully, the reaction from the authorities appears to have been swift, with the police leading a multi-agency response at the shore near South Queensferry.

That is hugely reassuring, and in this case it looks like the pollution was harmless – if smelly. It also sparked a useful exercise for those who have to tackle problems. But the response must not stop there.

Just as important will be what happens next, and the authorities need to guard against a worse incident happening in the future.

Almost exactly ten years ago to the day, the Firth of Forth was awarded the European Union’s highest wildlife status as a Special Protection Area.

What better way to mark that anniversary than show that we mean business when it comes to protecting the marine wildlife on our doorstep.

Congratulations, Jay

YOU can bet there wasn’t a dry eye in the school yard when brave five-year-old Jay Johnson walked through the gates at Lawfield Primary in Dalkeith today.

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That prospect must have seemed a million miles away when doctors told parents Paul and Sandra that the pioneering operation he needed to be able to ditch his wheelchair wasn’t readily available on the NHS.

But instead of accepting second best, the couple went out and raised £40,000 – with a little help from their friends – so that he could have surgery in the United States.

Well done to Paul and Sandra, and everyone who helped them with their fundraising. We hope Jay thoroughly enjoys his new-found freedom.