Youth climate campaigners issue demands to leading councillor

190923 climate strike Preston

Youth climate strikers outside Lancashire County Council with the deputy leader, Cllr Keith Iddon, 23 September 2019. Photo: Lancashire youth climate strikers

Youth climate campaigners living in the area of the UK’s only fracking site secured a meeting with a senior county councillor this afternoon.

Last week, the campaigners promised to return to Lancashire County Council in Preston every day after school. They had staged a sit-in in the entrance on Friday when no one from the authority would speak to them during the global climate strike.

They said they wanted the authority to acknowledge the youth voice on climate change.

This afternoon the council’s Conservative deputy leader, Cllr Keith Iddon, agreed to talk to them outside county hall.

He apologised for not meeting them on Friday and said he had not been aware of their visit to County Hall.

In a video of today’s meeting seen by DrillOrDrop, the youngsters said there were many things the council could do on a regional stage, including the elimination of single-use plastics and “fast fashion”. They urged the council to work with young people on climate change and to be transparent in its communications. They also called for a public youth debate.

Cllr Iddon, who was standing in for council leader Geoff Driver, said:

“We are small cog in a big wheel on the world stage but I appreciate what you are saying. I take on board everything you say.

190920 climate strike LCC

Sit down protest at Lancashire County Council during global youth climate strike, 20 September 2019. Photo: Lancashire Youth Climate Strikers

The meeting also discussed the use of security guards and police during Friday’s sit-in protest.

Police officers reportedly filmed the protest and talked about arrests for aggravated trespass. Their actions were described as “disproportionate” and “unwarranted”. Cllr Iddon said the authority had not called the police.

Council staff were diverted to a different entrance, away from the protest. But one person leaving county hall was recorded verbally abusing the campaigners.

A student at University of Central Lancashire said today that youngsters who had attended the protest on Friday had been dissuaded from coming to today’s meeting. He said:

“We should no discourage activism in any way”.

One 13-year-old campaigner said:

“I felt really let down when we learned that no adults would even come out to speak to us. Our concerns are real yet we’re not deemed worthy enough to have our voices heard. All across the world, children along with adults, marched peacefully together to see action on the climate emergency. Yet in Preston, the council called the police. This makes me so sad.”

County councillor Steve Holgate said after Friday’s stand-off:

“As a Lancashire County councillor for Chorley, I want to make it clear that those who refused to speak with climate change protesters yesterday at County Hall did not do so in my name.

“Any climate change protester, child or adult who wishes to speak with me to express their concerns about the challenges facing humanity and all other species on this earth are most welcome to do so either at County Hall or elsewhere.”

44 replies »

  1. Oh well, it seems one of the anti posters on here is also aware of Lancashire County Councils pension scheme being invested to the tune of hundreds of £Millions in Oil,Gas and associated Shale Gas industries. As for the comment of being directly invested? It’s a bit like buying a Swedish or German car and saying you aren’t buying into the petrol or diesel industry???

    • Kisheny, ain’t that the true!
      Hypocrites, hypocrites all around!
      All they do is speak about money and eternal economic growth!!, oh oh and yes, generating energy, building cars and everyday products we all use, for the consumer, if people weren’t buying, they would be out of business! Fact.

      We all understand things have to change, but Stop this Circus now…!!

  2. But Simon Hinks – you did say rather specifically “foreign fracking operations.” not “the oil and gas industry” didn’t you?

    I recall from the chat we had that accuracy isn’t your thing though.

  3. Are Shell a “foreign fracking operation” or “the oil and gas industry”??? Exxon Mobil??? Chevron??? Etc., etc.

    Just, maybe, they might be BOTH?

    • Welcome to the interesting world of elementary set theory.

      We were discussing the subset of “foreign fracking operations” which may indeed be a sub set of ,or at least an intersecting set with, “the oil and gas industry”. Well done old thing!

  4. Or maybe they are, in many cases, just BOTH.

    Just like a 3 litre diesel BMW may be a pride and joy AND also a means to cause ill health in youngsters.

    (See the latest Court cases regarding VW are around misleading of investors. Will be dwarfed, IMHO, when individuals/groups get busy with the litigation regarding impacts upon health. But, one thing at a time.)

    Interesting how much is to do with perspective.

    Unless specifically excluded by Trustees, having been agreed with members, the bulk of pension funds will contain investments with a history of paying high dividends, whilst also achieving growth. Shell have been, and are planning to be one of the best in that respect. Looks as if Tesla will take some while yet before too many Trustees become excited that they are about to join the club.

    Oh, and another £3 BILLION likely to be added to costs of Hinkley! Looks as if gas has still got something going for it.

  5. Just more Collywibble Martian.

    It takes me back to O level English

    “a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
    Signifying nothing.”

  6. You shouldn’t have taken it personally, delayed reaction, but at 15/16 a lot do! It was written a long time before you were even a twinkle, so obviously not directed at you.

    Hope that helps you get over that event in your distant past.

    You can retake O levels, or similar, as a mature student. They are probably a lot easier now.

  7. Martian old thing – that was a very poor playground-level response even for you 😂

    (And I have no need to retake my English O level as I have an A level in it. Maybe that’s why I find your impenetrable and verbose meanderings so boring?)

    • Education is grand. We have learned in the last 24 hours you can recall items from your childhood many years ago but not statements you made a few hours before!

      Maybe that is the reason you find others communication impenetrable?

      After all that attempted deflection, that seems to be the view through the fog.

      • Actually Martin we seem to have learned that you can’t tell the time, that you don’t understand English or the logical progression of a conversation and that you are even more rude than we previously thought.

        Not a great day for you, but hey, cheer up, you are not Boris Johnson.

  8. Mike Potter

    Yes, the council may have replied to the FOI as stated … and the council treasury dept has no such investments. The FOI does not ask about the pension fund which, while not a separate legal entity has separate governance.

    Re the numbers, I think that Kisheny is referring to the 350.org reports on council pension fossil fuel investments.

    The story was covered by DoD


    It may be that the pension fund has divested it fossil fuel shares. It is not obvious from the last report as to where all the money is.

    Click to access view-the-full-pension-fund-annual-report-2018.pdf

    • Excellent post hewes62, my conclusions to your comments are that of unanswered questions regarding the financial reaction by Lancashire County Councils pension fund on publication last year of its investments in fossil fuel and related fracking investments.
      If Councillors were not aware of where hundreds of £Millions of Council pension money was invested, they most certainly were made aware of this over a year ago.
      Regarding governance of Council pension funds the Council that attracted the most attention with its fossil fuel investments last year was that of Greater Manchester Council.
      The governance of Greater Manchester Council pension fund is clearly stated as that of Tameside Metropolitan Council, it is responsible for managing GMPF’s money through the Pension Fund Management Panel. The panel meets four times a year, and does a similar job to the trustees of a private company pension scheme. They are responsible for:

      Investment management
      Monitoring investment activity and performance
      Overseeing administrative activities
      Guidance to officers in exercising delegated powers
      The Panel is made up of Councillors mainly from Tameside, and is advised by outside investment experts, Tameside’s Chief Executive, Director of Pensions, Borough Solicitor, and the Pension Fund Advisory Panel.

      The Pension Fund Advisory Panel is made up of Councillors from each of the ten Councils in Greater Manchester, and also employee representatives from major trade unions. Three external advisors assist the Advisory Panel, in particular regarding investment related issues.

      The Fund also has four working groups that consider particular areas of activity and make recommendations to the Management Panel. These working groups cover:

      Ethics and Audit
      Local Initiatives and Venture Capital
      Pension Administration

      So who are Greater Manchester Councils Pension Fund Management & Advisory Panel???

      Cllr Brenda Warrington Labour
      Cllr Gerald P Cooney Labour
      Cllr Mike Smith Labour
      Cllr Jim Fitzpatrick Labour
      Cllr Leigh Drennan Labour
      Cllr Clive Patrick Conservative
      Cllr Vincent Ricci Labour
      Cllr Denise Ward Labour
      Cllr George Newton Labour
      Cllr Jack Homer Labour
      Cllr Eleanor Wills Labour
      Cllr Tafheen Sharif Labour
      Cllr Paul Andrews Labour
      Cllr Michele Barnes Labour
      Cllr Joan Grimshaw Labour
      Cllr Alan Mitchell Labour
      Cllr Shaun O’Neill Labour
      Cllr Terry Halliwell Labour
      Petula Herbert Labour
      Cllr John Taylor Labour
      Cllr Abdul Jabbar Labour
      Cllr Diane Parkinson Labour

      On looking at the Greater Manchester Pension Fund 2019 Annual report an investment of over £802 Million invested in fossil fuels just looking at their top 20 investments.

      It tells me that what The Labour Party are saying and doing are total opposites.

      Draw your own conclusions…

      (FOE I am sure will publish the full listings in due course)…

      • Simon, we know how much you hate anything associated with socialism, but you really do need to keep up to date.

        This is from the 2019 report from the GMPF

        “It has also become increasingly apparent this year that the Pension Fund’s response to the generational challenge presented to us by climate change and environmental protection is an area of significant concern for many of our members and stakeholders. The GMPF has no direct investment in fracking companies, and we pledged in 2017 to become 100% net carbon neutral by 2050.

        GMPF has undertaken exercises to understand our own carbon footprint in order to have a clear baseline from which to measure our progress going forward. Progress will be regularly evaluated, taking care to ensure that we avoid stranded assets and can deliver pensions to our members in a way that remains affordable and sustainable for employers and taxpayers. We are also the biggest local government pension investor in renewable and efficient energy, with a half a billion allocated in a number of areas including biomass assets and a significant stake in the Clyde wind farm, one of the largest off-shore facilities of its kind in Europe. These efforts to date have been recognised by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, noting we have the highest levels of engagement to manage the risks that climate change poses and we are continuing to actively seek opportunities wherever possible to meet our goal for carbon neutrality before the 2050 deadline.

        We will also use our position on the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum to challenge companies in which we have an interest to direct their own efforts towards environment sustainability and other issues of concern to the Fund and its members. We stand by our track record of engagement over the past year, including joining the campaign set up by the New Zealand Super Fund to encourage social media companies to strengthen controls to prevent the live streaming and distribution of objectionable content following the horrific shooting that took place in Christchurch. The Fund also co-filed a resolution requesting that BP set out a business strategy consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which we understand will be supported by BPs board at their Annual General Meeting this year. It is because of this history of successful and productive dialogue that 80% of our members agree that a consultative approach is more effective than divesting holdings to others who may not share our commitment to responsible investment and engagement. With this in mind, we also refreshed and published on our website our Responsible Investor Policy, with support from our Ethical, Social & Governance advisor PIRC. Let nobody tell you otherwise, fighting the climate crisis is one of our highest priorities. Failure to deliver on this will not just threaten the viability of the Pension Fund, it will threaten the viability of our economy, our society, and our planet as a whole.”

        Accordingly they are currently engaged in a “Just Transition” process which balances their fiduciary duty with divestment goals.

        Nice try Mr Hinks but no cigar.

  9. In September 2018 Friends of the Earth published a document detailing Local Councils Pension fund investments in fossil fuels.

    Labour run Greater Manchester Council Pension fund had:

    Direct Fracking Investment of £704,920,042.00

    Estimated Indirect
    Fracking Investment
    (through pooled funds) of £284,127,638.30

    Fossil Fuel Investment of £1,758,099,024.00

    One year on from the report…

    The top 3 investment choices made by the Greater Manchester Councils Pension Fund Management & Advisory Panel in the GMCPF 2019 Annual report makes for interesting reading (published July 2019).

    GMCPF 2019 Annual report page 15:

    No.1 Royal Dutch Shell £343,000,000 invested.

    No.2 BP £322,000,000 invested.

    No.3 HSBC Holdings £187,000,000 invested, which will be most annoying to DOD readers as they have considerably increased their holdings in IGAS a company intending to carry out hydraulic fracturing in the near future.

    Centrica make it into the GMCPF at No.15 with £70,000,000 invested, which as we know on DOD has interests in Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking operations.

    GMCPF 2019 Annual report page 4:

    “Let nobody tell you otherwise, fighting the climate crisis is one of our highest priorities. Failure to deliver on this will not just threaten the viability of the Pension Fund, it will threaten the viability of our economy, our society, and our planet as a whole.”

    Greater Manchester Pension Fund (Chair)
    Cllr Brenda Warrington Labour Party…

    Click to access 2019.pdf

    Click to access 03_09_18_FINAL-VERSION-divest-fracking-report-.pdf



    • For what it’s worth Mr Hinks, I think you are getting yourself all frothed up by some lazy labelling from FoE there.

      When they talk about UK Pension Funds investment in Fracking Companies, Direct Fracking Investment and indirect Fracking Investment they appear to be referring to investment in companies which are involved in fracking as a part of their operations and not investment directly in fracking. The direct and indirect references relate to whether the investment is directly in the company or via a pooled investment fund. This is clarified at the end of the FOE document you refer to.

      I’m sure this won’t stop you fascinating us with your trenchant insights into local authority pension fund policy on a regular basis in the future.

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