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Mapperley man joins protest at County Hall over fossil fuel pension payments


A man from Mapperley was one of four protestors today who ’caused disruption’ during a meeting at County Hall over pension fund fossil fuel investments.

Dr Tom Barber, from Mapperley Park, was one of the four Extinction Rebellion rebels who ramped up the protests today in the County Hall grounds by planting a tree without permission.

They also caused disruption in the meeting chamber by dropping a massive banner from the balcony.

The local group have said they are doing this to draw attention to Nottinghamshire County Council, who they claim due have continually failure to begin selling their pension fund’s fossil fuel investments.

In February, the nine voting councillors on the Pensions Fund Committee refused their gift of symbolic saplings, so during today’s meeting Extinction Rebellion dug up an area of grass and planted their own symbolic 4 foot tree with a plaque saying “A Message to the Future – This English Oak tree was planted to mark the failure of the Nottinghamshire local government pension scheme committee to take urgent action to divest away from fossil fuels”

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It continues “This plaque is to acknowledge we are in a climate and ecological emergency and know what must be done. Only you in the future will know if we succeeded”. Underneath is a reference to the ever increasing amount of CO2 in the atmosphere due to the burning of oil, gas and coal, currently measured at a dangerous level of 415PPM. 

Protestors said the tree will stand to remind the Councillors of their lack of urgency in this matter. Their decision to continue to hold over £250 million in risky fossil fuel investments is threatening the security of the pension fund, as well as adding to the climate emergency. Any shortfall in the pension fund will have to be made up by the organisations that pay into it – which is a threat to our local public services.

Dr Baker said: “I’m aware that what we’re doing today could be considered criminal damage, but digging up a bit of grass to plant a tree is really an act of community protection.

“I know the vital role trees can play in reducing the effects of the climate crisis. It’s the inactivity of the Pensions Committee that’s criminal!”

During the meeting members of Extinction Rebellion also unfurled a banner inside the council chamber expressing their frustration at the Committee’s lack of action.

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