Industry: water, steel & energy

Holliday, Fred (10 of 14) National Life Story Collection: An Oral History of the Water Industry

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The British Library Board acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this recording and the rights of those not identified.
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  • Recording date

    2009-08-13, 2009-08-20, 2009-11-16, 2010-02-09, 2011-02-02

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home

  • Interviewees

    Holliday, Fred, 1935-2016 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Gilmour, Alison (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 10: Comments on treating and managing sewage waste: mentions supermarket restrictions on fertilisers and use as a fuel in cement industry. Remarks on dumping sewage sludge into the sea. Description of relationship with other water companies while Chairman of Northumbrian Water. Mentions rivalry with Scottish Water, Thames, North West Water. Remarks on good relationship in terms of best practice. Description of process of tendering for contracts: mentions risks involved, staff roles. Remarks on challenges involved in waste water management in comparison to drinking water. Mentions drinking water regulators and environmental regulators for waste water. Remarks on different needs of regulators and Ofwat. Mentions needs for financial engineering and legal expertise. [14:13] Description of periodic review of charges for water every 5 years. Remarks on lack of competition and need for efficiency to keep costs down. Remarks on approaches to dealing with Ofwat; mentions companies lying to Ofwat. Remarks on IB's reaction to second periodic review. [21:31] Comments on deciding to retire and following rule of retiring aged 70. Description of Northumbrian Water farewell at Beamish. Comments on final annual general meeting. Mentions being Chairman of a venture capital trust and Senior Non-Executive Director at another. Description of venture capital trusts and return on investments. Mentions setting up company to support start ups: Northern Venture Managers, while at Durham University. Mentions plan to leave final directorship aged 75. Description of current duties. [32:27] Comments on balancing different directorships; mentions Go-Ahead Group, Brewin Dolphin, Lloyds Bank. Comments on stockbrokers. Remarks on crash at Ladbroke Grove and public inquiry. Comments on risk. Description of being cautioned by police. Mentions outcome of inquiry. Gives advice on taking on directorships. [39:06] Comments on enthusiasm when taking on Chairman role at Go-Ahead Group. Mentions Bob Reid's involvement in an inquiry upon entering role as Chairman of British Rail. Comments on holding responsibility for safety in companies and risk of prosecution. Remarks on process of reporting faults. Description of finding out about Ladbroke Grove accident. Comments on bereavement and aftermath of accident; spreading of rumours. Comments on feelings upon hearing about accident. Comments on staff response. Remarks on reaction to Chairman of Railtrack.

  • Description

    Life Story Interview with Fred Holliday, former chairman of Northumbrian Water Group

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