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Anti-Fossil Fuel demonstration in Hastings Town Centre earlier this year

Hastings council to vote on ditching investments in oil, gas and coal

Local residents will be joined by campaigners from further afield in East Sussex on Wednesday 13 April, for Hastings Borough Council’s historic vote on divestment from fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). Locally, the Labour Party is in favour of divestment, but the test will be how many Tories choose to support the motion.

The vote – which is scheduled to take place at the Borough Council’s full council meeting at 6pm, Wednesday 13 April in Hastings Town Hall – comes as a new study from the London School of Economics estimates that climate change could wipe $2.5 trillion off global financial assets.

If the motion is passed then Hastings Borough Council will become the first council in Sussex to commit to divestment. It would also become the first member of the East Sussex Pension Fund to call for the Fund to divest itself from fossil fuels. The East Sussex Pension Fund, which is administered by East Sussex County Council, currently has £172m of local people’s pensions invested in the oil, coal and gas industries.

Fossil Free Hastings – part of a national campaign aiming to persuade councils and other institutions to ditch their investments in fossil fuels – is calling on local residents to contact their councillors to urge them to vote in favour of the motion. In the UK, councils in Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge have already passed similar motions.

00LaetitiaProminent local artist Laetitia Yhap has added her support to the move, noting that she agrees with Desmond Tutu that “It makes no sense to invest in companies that undermine our future”, and urging Hastings Borough Council and East Sussex County Council “to divest themselves of their investments in the oil, coal and gas industries.”

John Enefer, a spokesperon for Fossil Free Hastings, said: “The writing is on the wall for the fossil fuel industry – if we remain as dependent on it for our energy needs in the future, as we have been in the past, then we can look forward to a future of climate chaos in which last December’s floods will look like the good old days. The time is right to end our addiction to coal, oil and gas and to realise the full potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency. There is a growing global movement demanding change before it’s too late: with this divestment motion Hastings Council has an opportunity to be part of this movement and to be on the right side of history.”

Andrew Durling from Eastbourne Friends of the Earth, will be among those travelling to Hastings for the vote. He said: “Many people live near our local coast, so sea level rise due to climate change is a real threat. This vote is crucial in sending a signal to all councils in East Sussex that they must take action now and stop investing in the fossil fuels damaging our future.”

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Posted 05:44 Wednesday, Apr 13, 2016 In: Campaigns

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