User menu

Welsh councils' fracking investments potentially unlawful, says FoE.

Friends of the Earth Cymru has claimed that £600m invested by Welsh council pension funds into fracking operators contravenes the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act of 2015, which requires public bodies to consider environmental and sustainable development in their decisions.

Fracking is subject to a moratorium in Wales and Scotland by the devolved administrations.

According to FoEC Greater Gwent and Dyfed were the funds with the largest investment in companies engaged in fracking at £149.9m and £130.7m respectively. These include BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

FoEC spokesperson Bleddyn Lake said: “Welsh councils won’t be faced with fracking applications in their areas when the effective ban on fracking comes into Wales, so they shouldn’t be profiting from fracking in other people’s back yards.”

A Welsh Local Government Association spokesperson said: “Ultimately decisions are the responsibility of the pension funds which should be operating under their investment strategy statement.  

“Many of the funds delegate stock selection to specialist investment firms who act as asset managers.

 “All Welsh funds give great consideration to socially responsible investments and all funds are members of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum which considers and advises on ethical and climate related investment issues.”

The WLGA said it encouraged ethical investment principles and the pooling of the eight Welsh funds gave an opportunity to share good practice on responsible investment including fossil fuels. But it said the funds had a primary fiduciary duty to invest for the benefit of members.