Nick Williams is the former head of public affairs and senior vice president at Fleishman-Hillard
On winning the argument on fracking in the UK:.
- The Government and the industry should have been much more proactive in making the positive case for fracking, and at a much earlier point in the process. As a result of the communications vacuum, protests have merged differing interests, with environmentalists joining local residents in adopting an extreme and scientifically unsound narrative.
- There is a small window of opportunity for the industry to unite and get their communications act together. If they do not then they will completely lose popular support.
- Firstly the various industry actors need to pool their resources to sort out their messaging platform and materials, and provide credible spokespeople that can effectively communicate with the public.
- ...The industry then needs to provide an online hub with robust evidence and content, to which journalists and stakeholders can go to find information and counter arguments.
- In addition, effort should be made to build a credible coalition of support, engaging with scientists, academics and other third parties to speak up for the positives of fracking. At the moment the field of ‘expert opinion as comment’ is being left open to anti-fracking activists rather than those with an informed opinion.
Williams has worked with the Labour Party in the 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections. From 1993 to 1997 he was a senior political adviser to Tony Blair and his shadow cabinet, for the 1997 election he was seconded to the Labour Party's Campaign Headquarters and for the 2001 and 2005 campaigns he worked as part of Blair's private office media team and Labour HQ.
Williams began work in public affairs in 1997, joining Bell Pottinger and in 2000 he joined GPC International. He was appointed head of public affairs at Fleishman-Hillard in 2004, became a partner and senior vice president in 2007 and in 2010 his role was expanded to cover corporate communications as well as public affairs.
- Winning the Communications Battle on Fracking, 3 September 2013