A scientist who campaigns against Fracking has been told he must stop claiming to be a chartered geologist.
Dr David Smythe, who is a former professor at the University of Glasgow, has given evidence on various drilling applications, even helping persuade West Sussex council last week to drop an application for exploratory shale drilling.
However, the Geological Society have now told him that he cannot refer to himself as a “chartered geologist” as he stopped paying them a subscription in 1996.
Professor Paul Younger, also from the University of Glasgow, said that Smythe, who was a bass guitar player for punk band the Rezillos in the 1970s, is not qualified to give an opinion of fracking.
Professor Younger told the Times: “He has published nothing on [shale gas] in any proper scientific forum — no doubt because he knows he would never get past peer review with his pseudo- scientific scaremongering.
“He falsely claims to be a chartered geologist. That’s fraudulent. It’s wilful untruth.
“I am concerned about the damage to the reputation of the university by someone who never fails to use his university affiliation.”
The governing body of the University of Glasgow have also written to him, saying: “Notwithstanding our support for freedom of expression, we respectfully request that you make it clear in all of your future publications and broadcast media appearances that the views which you hold and express are your own and are not necessarily representative of the views held by the university’s researchers.”
Although Mr Smythe admitted that he should not have claimed to be a chartered geologist, he said that it was a “trivial matter” as it simply involved paying a subscription. A spokeswoman for the Geological Society said, however, that the title also required proof of “continuous professional development” and not just payment of a subscription.
Mr Smythe also accused Professor Younger of having a vested interest in unconventional fossil fuel sources as he is a director of coal gas company Five-Quarter Energy. He said: “A lot of British academics have in effect been bought off by the oil industry. They depend on grants from that industry so they dare not speak out critically.”
Professor Younger denied having any links to fracking companies.
Mr Smythe helped defeat a bid by Celtique Energie to drill for shale gas in West Sussex after he told the council that their application was “incomplete, incompetent, and disingenuous”, warning that it could contaminate ground water.
He has also given evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee in which he said that England’s shale basins are heavily faulted, and called for “overall ban [on fracking] in the UK.”