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Residents from Lewes, Forest Row and Hastings hand in hundreds of signatures calling for the divestment of the East Sussex Pension Fund from fossil fuels, at County Hall in Lewes, 12 July 2016

Residents from Lewes, Forest Row and Hastings hand in a petition with hundreds of signatures calling for the divestment of the East Sussex Pension Fund from fossil fuels.

Five-metre long fossil free petition to ESCC

On 12 July people from around East Sussex – including members of Fossil Free Hastings – handed in a five-metre-long petition at County Hall in Lewes, urging East Sussex County Council to divest the East Sussex Pension Fund of its investments in fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). Fossil Free Hastings reports.

The petition was signed by over 350 people from across East Sussex, including residents of Battle, Bexhill, Brighton, Eastbourne, Etchingham, Forest Row, Hastings, Heathfield, Hove, Lewes, Polegate, Seaford, St Leonards and Uckfield. The East Sussex Pension Fund, which is administered by the county council and includes the pensions for a wide range of organisations in the region, currently has an estimated £172 million invested in fossil fuels.

The hand-in, which was timed to coincide with a full meeting of the council, comes in the wake of the recent unanimous cross-party motion passed by Hastings Borough Council – a member of the pension fund – calling for the fund to be divested from fossil fuels. It also coincides with the launch of a new divestment petition, this time set up through the official East Sussex petitions website, created by East Sussex Pension Fund member Karl Horton. If the new petition reaches 5,000 signatures then it will trigger a debate on divestment by the county council.

Arkady Johns from St Leonards said: “Investments in oil, coal and gas are not only damaging the balance of our climate but also pose serious financial risks to investors, including many local pension holders. Last year the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, warned that investors face ‘potentially huge’ losses from climate change action that could make vast reserves of oil, coal and gas ‘literally unburnable’.

“Over 500 institutions, representing over $3 trillion in assets, have already committed to ditch their investments in these dirty fuels. That’s why hundreds of people from around East Sussex are now calling on East Sussex County Council to follow these institutions’ lead and divest the East Sussex Pension Fund of its holdings in oil, coal and gas.”

Posted 14:40 Wednesday, Jul 20, 2016 In: Campaigns

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