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£20.5m of Brent’s pensions pot still in fracking as council is urged to bin fossil fuel investments

PUBLISHED: 16:55 04 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:55 04 September 2018

Brent Friends of the Earth is fighting to keep the borough free of fracking. Picture credit: Jan Nevill

Brent Friends of the Earth is fighting to keep the borough free of fracking. Picture credit: Jan Nevill

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Brent Council still has more than £20.5million tied up in fracking companies despite pledging to move its pension investments away from fossil fuels, it is believed.

Although Brent does not directly invest in companies who frack, it does invest in pooled funds and investment vehicles that then themselves invest in companies such as BP, Shell and Chevron who engage in the gas extraction process.

The figure is revealed in a report by campaign groups Platform London and 350.org, and charity Friends of the Earth, and estimates £20,608,500 of Brent’s pension pot is in these funds.

Divest Brent campaigner Simon Erskine said: “It’s shocking to see that Brent Council are investing over £20m of pension funds into the fracking industry.

“Fracking threatens communities, destroys local landscapes, and fuels climate change across the globe. As this industry tries to get a foothold in the UK, it’s crucial that our councils take a clear stand against fracking and divest from the companies responsible.”

Cllr Margaret McLennan, Brent’s deputy leader, said: “I am proud that Brent Council has committed to moving our pensions funds away from fossil fuels. However, this new data release highlights Brent pension fund still indirectly invests in the global fracking industry.

“We are keen on taking climate action to move us towards a clean energy future and this data release [how much Brent has invested in pooled funds and investment vehicles that invest in fracking] affirms our commitment to do so.”

The figure in the report is an estimate of Brent’s indirect fossil fuel investments based on analysis of similar investment funds.

Sakina Sheikh from Platform London said: “The devastating fires and record temperatures this summer have brought the impacts of climate change home.

“Neither local communities nor our climate can afford for the fracking industry to win. Our councils are providing everyday support to the frackers. It’s time to stop, and to divest from fossil fuels.”

Earlier this year Divest Brent called on the town hall to divest from “any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds [..] before the May 2022 council elections”, while unions the TUC and Unison have both backed calls for pension funds to be invested elsewhere.

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