Research has revealed that Bucks County Council has invested £61.5 million of their pension schemes into highly controversial fracking businesses.
Data released this week reveals that UK councils invest £9 billion of their workers’ pensions into companies that frack, despite fierce local opposition to fracking across the UK.
The news comes as the fracking industry is poised to drill for gas for the first time in seven years in the UK.
The extraction of previously inaccessible gas has divided opinion.
The companies that councils are investing in include BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and ConocoPhillips.
These companies are fracking in places like Argentina, Canada and Australia.
BP, one of the companies involved, does not frack in the UK to avoid ‘the wrong type of attention’ but has huge fracking operations abroad.
Opponents argue that fracking causes environmental damage while supporters say it has revitalised the energy industry, creates jobs and provides cheaper energy.
The issue has flared in the UK in recent months over the decision to allow Cuadrilla Resources, the shale gas explorer, to start fracking in the UK’s first commercial well in Lancashire.
John Chilver, Bucks County Council’s cabinet member for resources said: “The Buckinghamshire Pension Fund Committee manages the Buckinghamshire Local Government Pension Scheme on behalf of more than 200 employers across the county.
“The committee’s Investment Strategy recognises that environmental, social and corporate governance issues, including climate change, can have materially significant investment implications.
The committee believes that engaging with investee companies on all issues to deliver long term change delivers a more responsible investment approach than a blanket decision to divest from any group of companies.”