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Questions raised about ‘disinvestment’ from fossil fuels by Welsh councils’ pension fund

28 Jul 2023 3 minute read
County Hall, Mold. Source – Google Street View.

 Rory Sheehan, local democracy reporter

Assurances have been given that a strategy is in place for a pension fund that controls money saved by public sector workers in three Welsh councils to ‘disinvest’ from companies trading in, or extracting, fossil fuels.

The Clwyd Pension Fund provides pensions for public sector workers at Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire councils, as well as staff from other organisations in the area.

In 2021 a motion was put forward by the Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats opposition groups on Wrexham Council requesting the authority urge the fund to divest from coal, oil and gas companies, due to the threat posed to residents by climate change.

But this was rejected by the council’s executive board due to concern it could knock the value of staff pensions.

Public inquiry

Earlier this year Flintshire Council’s climate change committee agreed to hold a public inquiry about the Clwyd Pension Fund’s net zero investment targets and divestment from fossil fuel companies.

Flintshire Council is the administrator of the pension fund which has a target of becoming net zero by 2045. Around 1.2 per cent of the fund’s assets are invested in fossil fuel areas.

At a meeting of Flintshire Council’s governance and audit committee, Cilcain Cllr Andrew Parkhurst (Lib Dem) had questions about whether the council was braced for any effects disinvestment could have on finances.

Cllr Parkhurst asked whether the chief actuary had expressed any opinion on what the effect might be upon disinvestment and what the implications are likely to be for the council’s finances.

The council’s chief executive Neal Cockerton moved to assure the committee that a strategy is in place which has been rigorously examined by the pensions committee, consultants and the council’s actuary.

Mr Cockerton said: “There is a very clear strategy the pension fund has set out for that disinvestment approach.

“That strategy will have been approved by the pensions committee and will have had oversight through the specific professional consultants that advise and that support the pension fund.

“I also think that it would have had oversight by our actuary to make sure that it is robust and adequate to deal with that disinvestment strategy.”

Mr Cockerton added that chief finance officer Gary Ferguson could provide a formal written response to Cllr Parkhurst’s question.

“The strategy is quite clearly available for anyone to see in terms of the pension funds’ approach to disinvestment from fossil fuels”, Mr Cockerton added.

“There is quite a detailed document there if you wanted to make yourself familiar with it Cllr Parkhurst.”

Submissions can still be made to the climate change committee’s public inquiry on the Clwyd Pension Fund’s investment strategy to become carbon net zero, with the deadline being August 4.

More information can be found on Flintshire Council’s website at Clwyd Pension Fund (flintshire.gov.uk)


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
8 months ago

The pensions for WCBC in Wrecsam, Flintshire and Denbighshire should all be gathered up and given to the people of those boroughs because there is NO ONE at all from those respective councils that deserve anything other than being sacked. Three of the most useless, obviously corrupt and self-serving councils in the whole of Cymru. They are three of the most run-down, battered, shattered and ruined parts of Cymru. WCBC especially seems to be run only for the benefit of its employees and Novus. If anyone paid any attention to anything but football in Wrecsam they would see a town… Read more »

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
8 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

Sounds grim

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