People at opposite ends of the fracking debate have received leading honours in the Queen’s birthday list, announced today.
The Oscar-winning actor, Emma Thompson, who campaigns against fracking and shale gas, becomes a Dame.
The industrialist, Jim Ratcliffe, whose Ineos group includes the UK’s biggest shale gas licence holder, is knighted.
Environmental campaigner and actor
Dame Emma, who visited anti-fracking campaigners at the Preston New Road shale gas site, near Blackpool, earlier this year, was honoured for services to drama.
In April 2016, she ignored an injunction preventing access to the same site to take part in an “Bake-off” style anti-fracking protest. She and her sister, Sophie, were sprayed with manure by the landowner.
She has also campaigned for Greenpeace on issues including climate change and drilling for oil in the arctic.
Dame Emma has been in 80 films and won two Oscars, along with 59 other awards.
Her work includes Saving Mr Banks, Howards End, Sense and Sensibility, Beauty and the Beast, Nanny McPhee, and several Harry Potter films
Industrialist and shale gas pioneer
Jim Ratcliffe, the chairman and chief executive of the Ineos chemicals group, received his honour for services to business and investment.
The Ineos group’s shale gas company, Ineos Upstream, holds more exploration licences than any other oil and gas company onshore in the UK.
Last week, it received planning permission for an exploration site at Harthill in South Yorkshire, following a planning inquiry (details). Another Ineos Upstream application, for the village of Marsh Lane in North East Derbyshire, goes before an inquiry in just over a week. And the company is expected to submit a second application for the village of Woodsetts later this month after the first was turned down by Rotherham councillors.
Last month, Sir James was named by the Sunday Times as the UK’s richest person, with a net worth of £21.05 billion.
He formed Ineos in 1998, buying up unwanted operations from groups such as ICI and BP. By 2006, the company had operations in Scotland, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium and Canada.
The head office moved to Switzerland in 2010 reducing the amount of tax paid by the company. But in 2015 Ineos opened the UK headquarters of its chemicals and energy group in Knightsbridge, London.
In an in-house interview, Sir James described 2017 as a record-breaking year for Ineos. In April 2018, the company sponsored Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup team to the tune of £110m. The company also sponsors the children’s running initiatives, Ineos Go Run for Fun and the Daily Mile.