Extinction Rebellion to protest County Council £85m investment in fossil fuel companies

Members of extinction rebellion Aylesbury Vale at a previous demonstrationMembers of extinction rebellion Aylesbury Vale at a previous demonstration
Members of extinction rebellion Aylesbury Vale at a previous demonstration
On Friday July 26, Extinction Rebellion Milton Keynes (XR-MK) are planning a non-violent action in Aylesbury town centre to coincide with the latest meeting of the Bucks County Council’s (BCC) Pension Fund Committee and demand the Fund cease investing employee pension funds in fossil fuels.

The action is being supported by Extinction Rebellion Aylesbury Vale who have recently established themselves in the local area.

A statement from extinction rebellion said: " Despite the current climate crisis, BCC’s Pension Fund has £85 million invested in fossil fuel companies, which are a key contributor to climate change.

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"The BCC Pension Fund manages the Buckinghamshire Local Government Pension Scheme on behalf of some 260 employers across the County, including Milton Keynes District Council, which supports moving investment out of fossil fuels and to renewable forms of energy.

"The Fund Committee has defended their decision to maintain investment in fossil fuel companies, claiming that, by investing in fossil fuel companies, the Committee can engage and influence these companies to respond to environmental issues.

"However, no proof has been provided to substantiate these claims and all papers and minutes relating to these issues are classified as secret meaning there is no evidence that the Committee are using their position as investors to achieve meaningful change within fossil fuel companies."

Lee Anne, from XR-MK, said “On July 26 will attempt to engage with the Buckinghamshire Pension Fund Committee outside their meeting at County Hall, Bucks.

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"We will publicly draw attention to the fact that the Council are knowingly funding climate change with pension funds and will highlight that urgent action needs to be taken on this matter.

"We hope that improving public knowledge about both the climate crisis and the divestment issue will increase pressure on the Council to do the right thing - to start considering the lives of future generations, as well as pension pay outs. We are running out of time to keep warming to 1.5 degrees. Divestment must happen now.”

Aylesbury Quakers have already challenged the Fund to reassess their investment policy with an open letter released last month, and the action planned will further increase pressure on the Fund to reconsider their stance and take decisive action to combat the climate emergency.

The statement continued:

"The BCC Pension Fund Committee is one of several partners in Brunel Pension Partnership Ltd. which is owned by these partners.

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"And whilst many other partners have been proactive in reviewing their investment strategies and diverting funds away from fossil fuels and into renewable energies, the BCC Pension Fund Committee has continued to drag its feet and failed to update its Investment Strategy Statement by defining the value of its investments in sustainable impact funds.

"It is hoped that sustained pressure will force the Committee to recognise its need to act with speed to invest responsibly to stop contributing to the climate breakdown."

The 2018 Report by The International Panel on Climate Change states that such climate breakdown may be irreversible if we do not act now.

Extinction Rebellion is an international movement based on civil disobedience and non-violent resistance that wants governments to declare a climate and ecological emergency and take immediate and effective action to address climate change.

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Since it was established in 2018, hundreds of local groups have established themselves across the world, and now the new Aylesbury Vale Extinction Rebellion group can add itself to the map.

The group, established in June, has already proved popular with residents across the Vale area and is always keen to welcome new members. If you’re interested in finding out more, search ‘Extinction Rebellion AV’ on Facebook or email [email protected].