Pension funds could be unlawfully investing in fracking

Written by Mark Evans

Welsh local government pension funds could be acting unlawfully by investing in fracking companies.

With over £600m investment in overseas fracking operations, protesters believe that such investments are contrary to the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.

According to Friends of the Earth Cymru, companies in which Welsh councils invest are operating fracking in Argentina, the US, Canada, Australia, China and Oman. The companies involved include BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

The issue is highlighted in the organisation’s report Divest Fracking; how UK councils are banking on dirty gas, and cites Greater Gwent (Torfaen) and Dyfed as the Welsh local government pension funds with the highest investment in fracking companies.

Greater Gwent and Dyfed invest £149,930,309 and £130,721,187 respectively in fracking companies.

The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act of 2015, requires public bodies in Wales to consider environmental and sustainable development in every decision they make.

In Wales there is a moratorium on fracking and the Welsh Government are currently consulting on their proposed position not to grant any new licenses for fracking in Wales when the power over these licences is devolved to Wales in October.

Friends of the Earth Cymru spokesperson Bleddyn Lake said: “Welsh councils won’t be faced with fracking applications in their areas when the effective ban on fracking comes into Wales, so they shouldn’t be profiting from fracking in other people’s back yards. We need to see a clear commitment from them to remove all investments, direct or indirect, from fossil fuel companies.”

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