PICTURED: County Hall, left, and Councillor Chris Barnfather, right

A councillor for Newstead has been asked to meet with climate protestors later today who want shares they claim have been paid for using a council pension fund to be sold.

Councillor Chris Barnfather, who is county councillor for Newstead, is part of the authority’s pension committee who are meeting later today (January 20).

Environmental protest group Extinction Rebellion is claiming Nottinghamshire County Council has invested at least £250 million from its pension fund in fossil fuel companies and is protesting today to demand these shares are sold.

The protestors have invited Mr Barnfather to meet with them outside County Hall before the committee meeting to accept the gift of an oak sapling, and to talk about selling the shares.

The oak sapling is being handed out in honour of the Greek proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

A spokesman for Extinction Rebellion said: “Nottinghamshire County Council has invested at least £250 million from its pension fund in fossil fuel companies. On average, each person with a pension held in this fund has around £5300 of their money contributing to global warming.”

PICTURED: County Hall

They said that Mark Carney of the Bank of England has warned that oil and gas investments are likely to collapse. 

The spokesman added: “If the pension fund crashes then schools, advice centres, carers support and many more local services would have their budgets slashed to make up some of the missing money for the 37,000 existing pensioners. 

“Members of Extinction Rebellion have repeatedly asked the County Councillors who sit on the Pensions Committee to sell these risky shares, then invest the money in companies which don’t add to global warming. This is a process called divestment and will protect the environment as well as people’s hard earned money.”

Those who have pensions with the council have joined the group’s calls for the shares to be sold.

Community Psychiatric Nurse Ben Homfray, from New Basford, said: “Not only is my pension at risk but the future of our planet is endangered by these fossil fuel companies. It seems a win-win for Nottinghamshire to invest our money in clean energy”. 

Retired Public Health Manager, Rachel Adams, from Sherwood, said: “Scientists said in 2007 that climate change would be noticeable in Australia by 2020 by the increased length and intensity of the bush fire season. In all that time Governments did nothing to prevent it. But what we can do locally to help prevent wild fires is invest wisely!

She added: “I don’t want a worthless pension, but also I don’t want my money destroying the world for my grandchild.”

This isn’t the first time Extinction Rebellion has protested at these meetings. They held a silent protest in the public gallery back in September last year and also a protest outside the meeting in October.

A spokesman added: “If necessary, there will be an escalation of further protests at the next pensions committee on February 13.” 

Gedling Eye has contacted Councillor Barnfather and Nottinghamshire County Council for comment.



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