TOWN councillors could accuse Shropshire’s public-sector pension fund of “dragging its feet” over plans to stop investing in fossil fuel companies, under a motion tabled for next week.

The Shropshire County Pension Fund, which handles the retirement savings of both the county’s main local authorities, town and parish councils and other bodies, has around £10 million invested BP and Shell.

In July, Shropshire Council passed a motion asking it to disinvest from them within three years. A motion by Oswestry Town Council member Olly Rose, due to be discussed on Wednesday, October 21, repeats this call.

Shortly after the Shropshire Council motion passed, Shropshire Pension Committee chairman Thomas Biggins pointed out the SCPF had already ordered a “climate risk report” from a regional asset manager, and said he took responsible investment “very seriously”.

In her motion Cllr Rose, a Green Party member who represents the Castle ward, points out that Oswestry Town Council declared a climate emergency in December 2018, making it one of the first local councils in Shropshire to do so.

“However, it continues to support SCPF which has millions invested in fossil fuel companies,” she adds.

During the July debate at Shropshire Council, Cllr Biggins said the fund had £10.2 million in BP and Shell investments.

Cllr Rose’s motion continues: “Continuing to support companies whose financial models are preparing for a five-degree temperature increase world is incompatible with the declaration of a climate emergency.

“Shropshire Council voted to ask SCPF to fully divest all its fossil fuel holdings over the next three years. However, the fund continues to drag its feet on this issue.

“Many other councils and large companies have already divested and are sticking with this policy: The Royal College of GPs, The British Medical Association, half of all UK universities, the Environment Agency and The National Trust, to name only a few.”

She adds that specialised fossil-free share indices have outperformed general indices “over the past decade”, making disinvestment “a good financial decision”.

“As members of the SCPF, this council asks that the fund divests from all fossil fuel companies,” Cllr Rose says.