Whilst world leaders meet once again in Paris to try and reach a global agreement to tackle climate change closer to home North Yorkshire county council invests its pension fund heavily in high polluting and financially risky fossil fuel companies including controversial Fracking firms.
Frack Free North Yorkshire has learnt via Freedom of Information requests that North Yorkshire county council (NYCC) has direct financial investments totalling a breath taking £101 million in fossil fuel companies and their financial backers.. Closer to home NYCC has invested heavily in Fracking companies that have plans to unleash the controversial gas extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing within the councils constituency
The FOI also revealed that NYCC has over £15million worth of direct investments in Barclays who own a 97% stake in Third Energy a company that currently has a planning application lodged with NYCC to test frack at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale. Third Energy’s operation director has also recently stated that the company would like to drill and frack up to 950 wells in North Yorkshire.
NYCC pension fund has also invested over £5million in energy giant Total who have recently invested in Dart Energy and Egdon Resources. Both of these companies operate within the boundaries of North Yorkshire!
Third Energy have also begun a tendering process for their fracking project at Kirby Misperton. One of their potential supply chain partners is the now infamous Halliburton.
Halliburton were held partly responsible for the deep water horizon spill in 2010 which killed 11 workers and caused one of the worst environmental disasters seen in recent time. They have also been linked with a fracking spill in Ohio in 2013 where 70,000 fish mysteriously washed up dead in a nearby river.
This however has not put off NYCC who have decided to invest £1.2 million of their pension fund in Halliburton!
Other investments of interest include a £2.14 million investment in GDF Suez who have recently been awarded the rights to explore for shale gas alongside Cuadrilla resources in the PEDL license block area SE95 located just outside Driffield in Yorkshire.
The £15million invested in Barclays (owners of Third Energy), the £1.2million invested in Halliburton and the £5million invested in Total could be seen as serious conflict of interest particularly when you consider that it will be North Yorkshire County Councils own planning team who will decide whether or not to approve future shale gas exploratory wells and fracking projects like the one currently submitted by Third Energy for their project at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale.
Furthermore The trio of Third Energy, Dart Energy and Egdon resources have all written to NYCC declaring their support for Unconventional gas extraction inside North Yorkshire and have subsequently formally requested that Fracking for shale gas and coal bed methane is included within the new North Yorkshire joint Minerals and Waste plan due to be published in 2016.
Frack Free North Yorkshire has also discovered that NYCC has only £0.6million invested in green renewable energy. This is a tiny fraction (less than 1%) when compared to the mammoth £101million invested in fossil fuel companies and their financial backers.
Frack Free North Yorkshire finds this situation unacceptable and we will be formally writing to NYCC requesting that they implement a divestment plan ASAP whereby the £101million invested in fossil fuel companies is re-invested into green, sustainable and socially responsible companies instead.
Furthermore we will request that they withdraw immediately all financial investments currently held in Barclays, Total and Halliburton.
We will also be urging members of the public to contact North Yorkshire county council either directly or via their local council representatives and request that NYCC end this potential conflict of interest immediately and implement a fossil fuel divestment plan ASAP.
For further guidance on complaining to NYCC please click on this Link
If you would like to learn more about how to divest from Fossil fuel companies please click on this link that will take you to the brilliant move your money website. Their is also a wealth of information on the fantatstic fossil free UK website
The full value of shares held by NYCC pension fund as of March 2015 are as follows;
Fossil Fuel Financial Backers (as of March 2014)
HSBC HOLDINGS PLC£ 11,570,435.49
ROYAL BANK OF SCOT£ 2,075,369.42
Sub total £ 28,728,155.81
Total of Fossil Fuel investments plus Barclays investment = £100,883,329
For enquiries or further information please contact the FFNY team via email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org