PRESS RELEASE: Preston businessman demands apology from Fylde parliamentary candidate [Embargoed until 00:01 Friday 17th April 2015]
Lee Petts, managing director at the multi-disciplinary consultancy, Remsol, has written to the Independent parliamentary candidate for the Fylde, Mike Hill, to demand a public apology for defamatory remarks.
Petts says that, in the last two years, a number of public comments about him and his company have been made by Mr Hill that risked Remsol's hard-won reputation.
"In June 2013, Mr Hill contributed to an article that appeared in Resource Magazine, a respected publication with a circulation of 2,500. In it, not only did he make a number of technically inaccurate assertions, he also said (about our work identifying a safe and effective method of treating and disposing of flowback wastewater for Cuadrilla Resources) 'Remsol have claimed they've come up with another way of treating the water that doesn't need to dilute it, but they won't tell anyone how they're doing it, so I'm a little suspicious. It's all a bit smelly.'
"This is just plain wrong. Apart from the implication of impropriety, full details of the treatment method we'd proposed were provided the environment permit applications made by Cuadrilla in August 2012, which were the subject of public consultation.
"He made a similar reference on social media using his now defunct @FrackingRegs Twitter account in June 2013 about 'smelly interests'. Who knows how many people were exposed to that, given the propensity for bad news and smears to travel widely online?
"This is not the sort of behaviour one expects of someone with aspirations to one day run for public office."
Petts says he was moved to demand an apology after seeing Mr Hill tweet about what he claims is a political smear campaign against him. Mr Hill has been embroiled in scandal since an email emerged that some have claimed is evidence he once sought a job with the shale gas company Cuadrilla, whose plans he opposes in Lancashire.
"When I saw Mr Hill's comments on Twitter, I was astounded at the hypocrisy of it knowing that he's previously made what can only be described as unfair, inaccurate and defamatory comments about me and my company in recent years.
"You don't have to look far to discover that Remsol is a very ethical company. Whether it's our support for a local disabled children's charity, or our Big Green Calendar project in 2011 that saw primary school children from across Lancashire draw and paint environmentally-themed pictures in a competition to have their artwork feature in a charity calendar, the work we do with schools, or just our day job of helping people grow sustainable, resilient businesses.
"I was very offended to see these slurs being made that imply my company is anything other than a professional, responsible business, with a real interest in helping make sure that onshore shale gas in Lancashire goes ahead with the right environmental safeguards whilst building a local supply chain."
Petts refused to be drawn on the matter of Mr Hill's qualifications and expertise, which have also been called into question, saying only that if he has evidence to support his claims, it would be sensible to produce it or risk people continuing to doubt him.
"Fylde residents will judge Mr Hill's fitness to represent them as their elected MP not just on the basis of what he promises, but also on how he behaves. Issuing a full and unreserved apology in relation to statements made about my company and I will help him to show his character to the electorate, demonstrating a willingness to accept responsibility for his actions and to apologise when he's at fault," concludes Petts.
Mr Hill used his Twitter account recently to say "As your MP I will behave appropriately, do the job properly, take responsibility for my actions".
Notes to editors:
1. Remsol Limited is a multi-disciplinary consultancy focused on helping people grow sustainable, resilient businesses. It was launched in 2002, primarily as a waste management outsourcing business.
2. The company is based in Preston, but operates nationally and supports businesses in all sectors.
3. Lee Petts is a Chartered member of the Institution of Wastes Management, a panelist on the North West Energy Task Force and is the chief executive of the Onshore Energy Services Group - a trade association that exists to advance the interests of British SMEs in the supply chain that supports onshore oil and gas.
4. Details of the email that it has been suggested is evidence Mr Hill once sought a job with Cuadrilla can be found here.
5. Concern about Mr Hill's qualifications and expertise were raised in this article in The Times (£) in which a spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirmed that Mr Hill has not provided advice to the Department or played a particular role in shaping policy.
6. For media enquiries or to arrange an interview, please contact Amanda Jackson on 07881 621143 or email email@example.com