HEREFORDSHIRE Council is calling on the Worcestershire Local Government Pension Fund board and committee to seek alternatives to investments in fossil fuels.

The move follows a UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report which said changes are needed to avoid the risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty across the world.

Councillor Trish Marsh proposed a successful motion at full council earlier this month which hopes to influence the pension fund's future investments.

She said: “This isn’t Herefordshire Council’s money, it belongs to the Worcestershire County Council pension fund who administer it for their own employees and for 190 other employers."

The fund has 22,000 contributing members, 19,000 pensioners and a value of £2,701m and Herefordshire has a seat on the pension board and committee.

Coun Roger Phillips, who seconded the motion, said the efforts made by the panel to reduce its investment in fossil fuels from 5% to 1.5% should be applauded.

Coun Nigel Shaw, who also backed the motion, said there was still value in investing in the petrochemical industry given the current price of oil.

He said: “American sanctions on Iran, political chaos in Venezuela, and the recent activity in Saudi Arabia looks set to squeeze supply and pump prices higher."

Coun Terry James said he was happy to support the motion but warned it would not reduce the amount of fossil fuels by a teaspoon.

“It’s rather like the people that go into a supermarket with their reusable bags and then stuff them full of Danish pastries wrapped in heavy plastic and feel they’ve somehow salvaged their conscience by doing this," he said.

"We need to be going on fewer foreign holidays and reducing the power of our cars and the council should make all its transport electric, that would make a difference, this will just send a message.”