The decision of Hammersmith & Fulham Council to end investments in fossil fuel companies has been praised by a leading environmental charity.
Friends of the Earth, which has been campaigning on environmental issues for almost half a century, has welcomed the move towards making H&F the greenest borough in the country
“Friends of Earth are delighted to hear of Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s intention to divest its fossil fuel exposed investments, and thereby play a proactive role in tackling climate change,” said Lewis Coenen-Rowe of Friends of the Earth, Hammersmith and Fulham.
“We look forward to turning this divestment intention into tangible action as soon as possible and collaborating on further climate change initiatives, such as reducing local air pollution with the borough.”
With the risk of increased flooding in the borough and climate change posing a danger to lives and livelihoods worldwide, the administration has took the decision earlier this month to lead by example.
The decision followed a special motion to council earlier this year, in which councillors agreed that climate change was one of the greatest threats of our times and that action was needed at all levels of government to tackle it.
“It is heartening to see this step towards making us the greenest borough in the country has been recognised by Friends of the Earth,” said Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the Council.
“We are looking forward to working with the charity, and residents and businesses across the borough, on our other green plans, such as increasing the use of electric cars, making the borough safer for cyclists and pedestrians, protecting against flooding, cutting the use of pesticides and taking measures to improve air quality.”
As well as making the commitment on investments, H&F Council is putting in place new low emission bus zones, has continued to fight government plans for a new runway at Heathrow, and has consulted on plans for making cycle routes safer for both cyclists and pedestrians.
The council is planning to create green corridors enabling the free movement of wildlife in the borough.
H&F also held a resident-led commission to fight pollution, which recommended improvements in planning and transport policy, green initiatives and public health changes to address the risks to people in Hammersmith & Fulham from air pollution.
“Our first responsibility is to the people of the borough – now, and in the future,” said Cllr Cowan.
“We want to ensure our investments are good for the borough, and good for us as an authority, but we also want them to be good for future generations – and our new commitment will help us work towards that.”
The biggest investments of the council are in its staff pension fund. The members of the council's pension sub-committee, although not Trustees, decide independently on investment decisions; with their main responsibility being to the long term viability of the fund and its ability to meet its liabilities.