Should council money be invested in dirty fuels?

Neil Blake, leader of AVDC
Neil Blake, leader of AVDC

Both our district and county councils love to boast about their green credentials, but chiefs invested £3.15million of workers’ pensions in fossil fuels.

Liberal Democrat research showed that part of the pension pot is invested in the pollution-causing fuels – which they argue is unethical.

District and county council workers’ retirement money is managed by a pension fund overseen by Bucks County Council.

The total value of the fund’s investments stand at £1.9billion.

The fossil fuel investment makes 3% of the final total.

District leader Neil Blake said in a written response to the Liberal Democrats: “The Pension fund administrator confirmed that the Pension Fund Committee has not given any consideration to the disinvestment in oil and gas companies.

“However, it was emphasised that the Pension Fund Committee take their environmental, social and investment responsibilities seriously.”

Mr Blake also said that he will write to the county council asking their representative to raise the issue at the next meeting.

A spokesman for Bucks County Council said: “The Buckinghamshire Pension Fund, which represents more than 150 employers in the county, has 3.3% of the fund invested in oil and gas companies. The fund has a legal duty to achieve the best possible return for its members.

“The extent to which social, environmental and ethical considerations are taken into account in investment decisions is left to the discretion of the fund managers.

“However, the pension fund committee expects that the extent to which these issues may have a financial impact should be taken into account by the fund managers and this is reviewed by the committee from time to time. All of the fund’s investment managers have adopted the institutional shareholders’ committee statement of principles.”

Liberal Democrats want any holdings in oil, gas, and fracking companies to be closed and the money 
reinvested in renewable energy.

Steven Lambert and Avril Davies, leader and deputy leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat group are aligning their campaign with a worldwide movement which is discouraging investment in fossil fuels.