Fracking supporter appointed as new DECC chief science advisor

The government has appointed Professor John Loughhead, head of the UK Energy Research Centre, as the new Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change. He replaces Sir David MacKay.

Professor Loughhead has publically supported fracking for shale gas and for the past year has led the body overseeing research into fracking in Europe.

In December 2012, on the day DECC lifted the moratorium on fracking, Professor Loughhead, then at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, gave this reaction to the decision:

“There is no doubt that it is possible to recover shale gas safely, and in an environmentally acceptable way.

“The ability to exploit shale gas could dramatically increase accessible UK reserves of the cleanest fossil energy and is an economic opportunity that cannot be ignored. If successful, it is likely to eventually displace coal from the UK’s energy supply, and make more gas available to do the same elsewhere in the world, which has major environmental benefits.”

In November last year, Professor Loughhead was appointed Chair of the ReFine Independent Science Board, which was formed to oversee research on fracking in Europe.

Before joining UKERC, Professor Loughhead was Corporate Vice-President of Technology and Intellectual Property at the French energy company, Alstom.

In a statement yesterday, the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, said:

“With vast engineering experience across academia and the private sector, Professor Loughhead brings a depth of knowledge that will be invaluable in areas such as shale gas, as well as keeping the UK as an energy world leader and creating momentum towards a global climate change deal.”

DECC said the role of the Chief Scientific Advisor is to “ensure that the Department’s policies and operations, and its contributions to wider Government issues, are underpinned by the best science and engineering advice available”.

Oil man appointed first civil service chief executive

The Cabinet Officer Minister, Francis Maude, has appointed John Manzoni, a former oil man, as the first chief executive of the civil service.

Mr Manzoni was chief executive of the Canadian oil and gas company, Talisman, before being recruited this year to head the Major Projects Authority. He also spent 24 years at BP.

Reports in the FT and Guardian

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