So who IS the North West Energy Task Force

The North West Energy Task Force has been in the news over the last two days as allegations surfaced around suggestions that the list of supporters of fracking sent as signatories to a letter to LCC in January actually contained people who may not have consented to be on the list, and even some who actually opposed fracking.

We have tried to get some of the “task force” panellists to comment on the matter and offer an explanation but without much success.

John Kersey, NWET panellist and Lancashire branch Chairman of the Institute of Directors simply deflected any questions with some asinine comments. We don’t know why he calls us “Alf” either – maybe it’s a hairdressers’ thing?
Maybe you can see now why I didn’t join the IoD when I first met the criteria for membership?

Lee Petts another panellist and MD of Preston-based Remsol was a little more accommodating and told us us that he thought you had to send in an email to become a signatory.


This of course would suggest that either Kaz Bhai, from Shipping and Trading Co Manchester, was either misreported or was not telling the truth when he  said:  “I do not support fracking, I don’t know why I am on the NWETF list of business’s supporting fracking and I would like to be removed from the list.” or that Mr Petts’ understanding of what went on may not have been as complete as we might perhaps have expected from a “panellist”.

[I should point out here that Lee is unhappy with my suggestion here that he should have known more, and would like me to change what I have written. I have offered to do so if he can provide a form of words which preserves the sense that, as a panellist, he had some responsibility here for what was said in the name of the Task force, which I believe he should have had.]

When he’d been asked about how much he knew he’d replied

panelNow this is very interesting as we had previously supposed that the North West Energy Task Force was run openly by those who were described on their website as its panellists. After all, apart from the fact that there are no other contact details given, the only other people we know who have any connection with it are the group’s sponsors, who as we all well know are:


We asked Mr Petts if he could tell us who does run the group ..
…he did tweet us a link to the Morning Star home page
but he has gone very quiet about it apart from that.

The Morning Star site did provide evidence of a link between lobbying company Westbourne Communications and the Task force

If anybody does know perhaps they could let us know so we can ask them a few questions?


Several people have now been in touch telling me that they understand that, as suggested by Lee’s link,  Westbourne Communications are in fact behind the North West Energy Task Force. They have clearly been involved with the Task Force as the incident with “Students For Shale” made clear .  If so then given some of the tactics used by Westbourne during the HS2 “debate”, a lot of questions start to arise.

We have asked Lee to confirm whether or not it is in fact Westbourne who run the Task Force

westbourneWe will keep you informed.


Lee was aggrieved that we didn’t show his screen shot showing an example of the confirmation mechanism, but we are glad to oblige him, even though its seems he is less accommodating about confirming for us who  actually runs the NWETF. Here it is.

emailAs he says it proves that at least one of the signatories did opt in by email

optinThe issue here of course is not so much active / passive opt-ins, but the suggestion that some did not opt-in at all.


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