Henry Dickinson

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Henry Dickinson was managing director of Norton Aluminium, secondary aluminium producer, from 2009-10, succeeded by Colin Davies. He was the Aluminium Federation president from 2008-9. He is also a member of the Aluminium Alloy Manufacturing and Recycling Association[1].

Failure to meet climate change agreements

In ALFEDs parliamentary breakfast meeting March 23rd 2010 the Aluminium Federation's Immediate Past President Henry Dickinson revealed their concern over the cost of complying with climate change agreements, and showed that they were failing to meet these targets with the 'innovation' and technology methods they promote:

Unfortunately our primary sector has had to buy large amounts of carbon units in the past year as the reduced level of activity and significant extra power associated with pot shutdowns and start-ups has reduced power efficiency and meant that Climate Change Agreement targets could not be met – a double whammy when prices and volumes were sharply reduced and hardly helpful to UK manufacturing. We hope and assume that electrolysis will continue to be exempt from CCL (Climate Change Levy) after 2012, but are braced to expect a reduction in the CCL rebate from 80% to 65% on other energy usage.[2]

Supplying aluminium for weapons

The link between aluminium and arms is often hidden by aluminium companies. However an estimated 30% of aluminium is used in the 'defence' (arms) industry, making it a 'strategic metal' which is stockpiled by most governments. Dewey Anderson, an ex-Congressman published a little known 1951 text 'Aluminium for Defence and Prosperity' which describes the necessity of large amounts of aluminium for war and how 'more than any other industry, aluminium is dependent on government policies and government actions for more production and consumption'.[3]

This link between aluminium corporations, governments and war still rings true today. In ALFEDs parliamentary breakfast meeting March 23rd 2010 Henry Dickinson describes orders for aluminium to use in the war in Afghanistan:

The rolling sector has seen continuing delays in the aerospace market, but with 4 years worth of orders in hand at Airbus demand remains good. Urgent requirements from the Ministry of Defence for Afghanistan continue to buoy demand, but earlier anticipation and authorisation of such requirements would make life easier for producers![4]

Pro industry, anti-environment?

Several of Mr Dickinson's comments suggest that he does not hold environmental matters or climate change in very high regard. Whereas many industrial leaders are now adept at using language of sustainability and portraying themselves as in line with environmental aims, Dickinson takes a more old-fashioned approach to the matter, describing industry and the environment as opposing. In ALFEDs parliamentary breakfast meeting March 23rd 2010 he said:

On a more general note it was with dismay, although hardly surprise, that I read the recent National Strategic Skills Audit which found that between 2001 & 2009 the numbers employed in electrical assembly manufacturing fell by 70%, metal workers fell by 57%, yet conservation and environmental protection officers grew by 124% and educational assistants grew by 91%. Do we not understand that we have to make money in order to afford these unproductive jobs?[5]

Later in the same speech he refers to climate change as a threat to industrial growth, using the strange analogy that industry is being 'sacrificed on the altar of climate change'. In fact, science suggests that it may well be society that will be sacrificed to climate change if we don't act to curb resource intense industries like aluminium immediately[6]. Dickinson says:

I would like to remind you of a ranking I referred to at the ALFED Dinner last November – the UK is still the world’s 6th largest manufacturer. The Aluminium Sector is an important part of that. I passionately believe we should continue to have a vibrant and successful manufacturing sector in the UK and that we – industry and politicians – should ensure that this is the case by creating the right infrastructure and legislative environment for such businesses to prosper. We must nurture them and listen to their needs. We must not sacrifice them on the altar of climate change or consign such industry to the scrap heap and put all our hopes on being the “world’s leading high-tech manufacturer”. I know that this message is not unique to the aluminium sector and believe that we must ensure our voices combine with other manufacturers to resonant louder and more widely within government[7].


WikiSpooks profile of Norton Aluminium