Robert Durward was the founder director of the British Aggregates Association. He died in January 2018.
'Fed up with all this environmental stuff
According to Andy Rowell, writing in The Guardian:
- Durward is "a businessman who is totally fed up with all this environmental stuff... much of which is unjustified, such as the climate change levy. We also have the aggregates tax, which will put the UK quarry industry out of business".
- Durward is also the director of the British Aggregates Association (BAA). Indeed, the Scientific Alliance's phone number is also the contact telephone for both the BAA and Cloburn quarry in Lanarkshire. The domain name for the Scientific Alliance is also registered to Cloburn quarry.
- The BAA says that it represents the "commercial interests" of Britain's independent quarry operators. BAA members have been campaigning against the introduction of an aggregates tax, which has been demanded by "environmental pressure groups who have little sympathy with the quarry industry and have chosen to ignore the efforts made to minimise environmental impact as well as the obvious necessity of our work".
- But the alliance's concerns also include transport, climate change, biodiversity, the countryside and waste. On climate change, they quote research from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) to back up their argument of the considerable benefits of a "delayed approach to climate change" - the US position. The CEI is one of America's leading rightwing think-tanks and has close ties to the anti-environmental "Wise Use" movement, which pioneered the use of corporate front-groups more than a decade ago.
- They are being advised by Foresight Communications, a new political consultancy which is based near Trafalgar Square, London. The executive handling the Scientific Alliance account is Mark Adams OBE, who was a private secretary for parliamentary affairs at No. 10 for nearly four years. He also worked as private secretary to Tony Blair for six months after the 1997 election.
- Durward, who refuses to disclose who the financial backers are for the Scientific Alliance, says he would not play an active role after "getting it started". "We are hoping to attract academics or people with a scientific background to contribute papers." They are looking to appoint two full-time staff and say that there has been "a tremendous amount of interest" because the alliance will be "quite popular".
- Stuart Crawford Associates past client