BY FOUR votes a notice of motion was successful which will see Powys County Council’s (PCC) pensions move away from fossil fuels investments.

The motion was put forward at the full council meeting on Thursday, October 10, by Cllr Emily Durrant (Green party – Llangors).

Cllr Durrant said: “Fossil fuel companies are subsidised at the expense of the climate, our health and our future.

“We can no longer afford to ignore the fiscal cost of subsidising and investing in fossil fuels.”

Chairman of the pensions and investments committee Cllr Peter Lewis (Conservative, Llanfyllin)  said: “I am more than happy to consider this, but we need to look at the situation and come to a balanced view.”

Cllr Lewis said that the Pension and Investment fund already followed guidelines to support a low carbon environment.

“Our fund is there for the members, they have paid in all their lives to have a pension.

“We have shares in FTSE100 companies like Shell who are in the fossil fuel industry.

“But 15 to 20 per-cent of the company is renewable energy.

“These companies are looking to transform the renewable industry.

“Yes we’ll consider all aspects, but we need to be mindful who’s coming up with the solutions for our future.”

Cllr Peter Roberts (Liberal Democrat – Llandrindod South) said that councillors were leaders in their communities and divestment is a way to lead.

Cllr Roberts, said: “Other authorities have done it and it sends a clear message about how seriously we are taking the problems facing the planet and our children’s future.

“We need to send a clear message from this chamber.”

But, finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies (Conservative – Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant/Llansilyn) said: “The pension fund currently has a deficit and it’s important we get the best possible return on our investments.

“At the current time we are putting an extra £750,000 from our revenue account to pensions every year.

“If our return falls that’s potentially an extra strain on our revenue account, we must not constrain our pension committee.

“These companies invest in hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals and the farming industry it’s not just about fossil fuel.”

Cllr Jackie Charlton (Liberal Democrat – Llangattock) who seconded the motion, finished the debate saying: “We have done a lot of research, and a number of county councils across Wales have already signed up to this.

“This supports what the Welsh Pension Partnership wants to achieve.”

“I have a pension here, I want to see the best return on my money, but I also want to makes sure it’s ethical.”

The vote was passed: 22 for 18 against and 4 abstentions.