West Yorkshire councils’ financial links with fracking in Lancashire

Fossil Free West Yorkshire campaignrs at Preston New Road fracking site
Fossil Free West Yorkshire campaigners at Preston New Road fracking site
Campaigners from Fossil Free West Yorkshire have just returned from the site of controversial fracking site at Preston New Road near Blackpool, to highlight West Yorkshire Pension Fund’s financial links to the project. WYPF is the pension fund for the 5 local authorities in West Yorkshire, and has £20 million invested in Centrica [1]. Centrica has a 25% share in Cuadrilla’s fracking operations in Lancashire [2]. The WYPF has over £500 million invested in other fracking and fossil fuel industries.

Fracking is a relatively new method of extracting fossil fuels which has been halted or banned in many places around the world, including New York State, the Netherlands, Scotland and Wales. For the past 6 years Lancashire residents and others have been campaigning to protect their communities from fracking.  In 2015 Lancashire county councillors overwhelmingly voted to reject fracking but in 2016 the Westminster government overturned Lancashire’s decision to say “no” to fracking and now Cuadrilla is preparing to frack in the next few months.  
The Fossil Free West Yorkshire campaigners joined the ‘Rolling Resistance against Fracking’ at the Preston New Road site, which is going on throughout the month of July. They wore white roses to show Yorkshire solidarity with Frack Free Lancashire and called on the West Yorkshire Pension Fund to drop their fracking – and other fossil fuel – investments.
Sarah Dawson from Fossil Free West Yorkshire said: “People in West Yorkshire might be shocked to know that their council pensions are linked to fracking. The UK Government recently acknowledged that up to 75% of existing fossil fuel reserves needs to stay in the ground to stay within safe climate limits [3]. We don’t want our money being used to extract yet more ‘unburnable’ fossil fuels or to potentially threaten the water supplies and health of Lancashire communities.”
Sarah added: “Investing in fracking is also a financially risky prospect and WYPF needs to consider their duty to protect the financial assets of their members and set a timetable to get their investments out of fracking and all fossil fuels.”
More on Fossil Free West Yorkshire: fossilfreewypf.word press.com

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