Derbyshire County Council hits back in climate change row

County Hall, Matlock.
County Hall, Matlock.
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Derbyshire County Council bosses have hit back over claims its multi-million pound investment in fossil fuel companies poses pollution risks and a threat to climate change.

A data and online map published by green campaigners 350.org and others traced where they claim £231billion of public money has been invested by 101 Local Government Pension Scheme Funds.

Campaigners also claim the county council has invested over £292m of public money into fossil-fuel companies such as Shell and BP.

A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “The council is part of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum which believes active engagement with companies producing fossil fuels is a more productive approach to effecting change rather than blanket divestment. We’re concerned about the implications of climate change and emissions and the Derbyshire Pension Fund has an increasing level of investment in renewable and low carbon energy production.”

The investment, according to campaigners, is part of a £3.8bn pot administered by the council and has been invested in fossil companies alleged to be contributing to climate change. Campaigners claim such investments also present a financial risk.

Those behind the data, including Platform and Friends of the Earth, claim Local Government in the UK invests over £14bn - 4.6m public sector pensions - into fossil fuel corporations.

Danni Paffard, 350.org campaigner, said: “This should be a real wake up call for councils in Derbyshire to divest taxpayers’ money from fossil fuels.”

The council argued as an investor it has forum voting powers to influence how companies operate and the forum has influenced an agreement between BP and Shell to report on how they will manage climate risk.