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About the Task Force

Lord Chris Smith

Lord Chris Smith is Chair of the Task Force on Shale Gas, which aims to provide impartial scrutiny and information about shale gas exploration and production in the UK. Lord Chris Smith was Chair of the Environment Agency from 2008 to 2014, and has been Chair of the Advertising Standards Authority since 2006. His previous roles include being Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, shadow Secretary of State for Environmental Protection, MP for Islington South and Finsbury, and President of the Ramblers’ Association.

Professor Ernest Rutter

Ernest Rutter is Professor of Structural Geology at the University of Manchester School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences. His research includes studies of natural rock fracture and flow through field studies, plus laboratory-based experimental rock mechanics and petrophysics, aimed at understanding rock behaviour in nature and under engineering conditions. The latter has implications for the stability of excavations and boreholes employed in the exploitation of natural resources, and the flow of fluids though rocks. Professor Rutter has been awarded the Wollaston Fund and the Lyell Medal of the Geological Society of London, the Néel Medal of the European Geosciences Union. He is an elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

Professor Nigel Brandon OBE

Nigel Brandon is a Fellow at the Royal Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the Energy Institute, and was Founding Director of the Imperial College Energy Futures Lab. He was recently appointed as Director of the Sustainable Gas Institute at Imperial College London. His research spans low carbon heat, carbon capture and storage, energy systems, energy storage, fuel cells, and hydrogen. Previous roles include being senior research fellow to the UK Research Council's Energy Programme, UK Focal Point with China in Energy and Climate Change, and research positions with both BP and Rolls-Royce. He is a founder and former CEO and CTO of Ceres Power, an AIM-listed fuel cell company spun out of Imperial College. Professor Brandon has been awarded the Silver Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Baker Medal from the Institute of Civil Engineers, and the Francis Bacon Medal from the American Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

Emma Duncan

Emma Duncan is the deputy editor of The Economist. She has written special reports for the paper on Saudia Arabia and the Gulf states, India, Pakistan, the food industry, London, climate change and biodiversity She writes regularly for The Times and occasionally for a wide range of other publications. She contributes to television and radio programmes and takes part in conferences as a speaker and chair. She has written a book, “Breaking the Curfew” (Michael Joseph), on politics, culture and society in the troubled state of Pakistan. She is a non-executive director of Lancashire Holdings Limited, an insurance company, and a trustee of the George Orwell Trust. She was born South African, became a British citizen, and studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University.