LETTERS TO THE GUARDIAN
I welcome that John Mann, my MP for Bassetlaw, has called for the resignation of the new chief executive of the civil service, John Manzoni, from his brewery directorship. There is, however, another situation which I consider to be as serious in terms of perceived neutrality.. (The Guardian Saturday 11th of October)
The same Guardian report showed that this man was appointed by Lord Browne, his former CEO at British Petroleum, to his £190,000 a year position. This Is disturbing. Because of Lord Browne’s own background as Chairman of Cuadrilla , the company which has started fracking in Lancashire where there has been a minor earthquake already, Lord Browne knew of Mr. Manzoni’s shared interest in this dangerous and polluting extraction of shale gas. Mr. Manzoni was an executive of BP when the Texas refinery was fined £13 million after it had a serious explosion, killing many workers . In his last company, Talisman, it had a record of 52 alleged breaches of health and safety while fracking with toxic chemicals. His company was fined dollars in a settlement with the US Environment Agency. Confidential BP reports did not rate Mr Manzoni highly for his involvement. Does that record show incompetence, negligence or arrogant greed when dealing with a process where the lives of others are at risk? Is he actually a good role model for our civil servants?
Already there are concerned voices raised against fracking and Lord Browne’s own record in the Cabinet office, where he has had appointees sympathetic to this industrialisation of our countryside, put into government agencies with responsibility for regulating it.
I understand that the gas companies will be largely responsible for their own health and safety and environmental regulation. So-called independent inspectors will come from the company’s own appointments. When big money is involved, we have to ask if our civil service is going to be trusted to be neutral any longer.
Bassetlaw against Fracking