Letters - February 21, 2017

Fracking protesters have exhausted all routes.
Fracking protesters have exhausted all routes.
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Speaking out nearly cost me my career

Given my involvement with the fracking debate on the Fylde and support from over 5,000 people in the General Election 2015, I would be grateful if you would print the following disciplinary decision and this letter:

This investigation came about because of complaints to my professional body, The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

I was informed about these complaints in April 2015 as I stood as a parliamentary candidate in the General Election.

Perhaps no-one should have been surprised about the timing of these complaints or by the efforts of the complainants to silence a professional engineer challenging the fracking industry?

The smear campaign that ensued involved the press, political blogging sites and various social media platforms.

It took 18 months for me to clear my name. I value my Chartered Engineer status and I have been proud of my efforts to speak out on fracking.

However, I was threatened with expulsion from the IET, removal of my Chartered status and striking from the Engineering Council register. My career and working capacity relied on this status and so this can be the price an individual pays for standing up for what he believes. During this time I was effectively gagged.

After an unprecedented investigation and a thorough examination of all the elements that made up the allegations I have been exonerated. The allegations came under two main headings: scaremongering and exaggeration of position.

I have been cleared of both – completely. It has come at no small cost to me and my family.

I have dared to speak out, as a professional engineer with the relevant qualifications and experience, on fracking and raise awareness amongst the public of the very real and severe health risks to them and their children and grandchildren.

I have dared to stand up against the Government and industry, to try to save the Fylde, its people and environment, from the threat of an environmental catastrophe, and large scale job losses in the area’s indigenous industries, in particular tourism and farming.

I have not exaggerated my position. I am an experienced Chartered Engineer, I have been an advisor to local councils and the UK Govt and Expert to the Technical Working Group under the EU Commission on Hydrocarbons. I have not “scare mongered”.

My presentations to the public presented the facts as I saw them through my qualifications, experience and research. I was right to do so. It was my duty to do so. Families here needed to know what risks they are running.

Farmers needed to know what risks they are running by allowing fracking on their land or indeed on farms near to their land

I felt it was important to explain what has happened to me since May 2015 since many people came to meetings, asked questions and listened to what I had to say.

We unfortunately live in a world where individuals have to risk their whole livelihoods by tackling governments and powerful industries. Ironically…it’s the latter that appear to have been frightened.

Michael Hill



Why are celebrities so boring these days?

With news that Piers Morgan has pulled out of hosting the Royal Television Society awards, saying he did not want to become a distraction after a social media campaign attacking him, it made me realise what vacuous and one-dimensional nonentities today’s celebrities really are.

What was Morgan’s crime? He failed to fall in line and follow the celebrity and Hollywood bandwagon that Donald Trump is extremist and not deserving of power.

In other words, he deviated from the narrow and rigorously proscribed political path ‘slebs’ are allowed to follow.

Free speech has been sacrificed by the liberal media elite in favour of ‘safe speech’.

Leftist and virtue signalling celebrity brands champion all freedoms - except holding an opinion that is different from theirs.

And they are not prepared to debate the issue.

A good example of this would be Ewan MacGregor cancelling an interview on Good Morning Britain over Morgan’s comments about “rabid feminists” at the women’s marches. Why didn’t he engage Morgan in argument. How boring...

Richard Tandy

Talbot Road, Blackpool


No money... maybe don’t have children

I don’t like to read stories about children being brought up in poverty.

It upsets me, it would anyone with a heart.

Life is very expensive.

Bringing children up is a serious financial commitment that will last for many years.

I just think that sometimes having children when there’s not much money about is not a good idea. Yes, you could be working, but if you lose your job and you have children, making ends meet will be hard.

Yet how many times do we hear of families on benefits with several kids that are struggling?

I stuck at only one child as I knew any more – even with two incomes – and paying nearly £200 a week nursery fees and everything else, it wasn’t worth the financial struggle.

Maybe less is more.

Name and address supplied


Too many people and NHS will struggle

Well the NHS seems to be sinking (so we are led to believe).

Open your eyes people, the NHS is doing a fantastic job with what they have.

But the more people we let in from other countries “to use our facilities” such as the health service, schools and housing then yes, we will struggle.

Paul Wignall

Via email