DUDLEY has become the second authority in the West Midlands to rule out future investment in fossil fuel companies in a bid to tackle climate change.

A motion calling for the council's pension fund, West Midlands Pensions Fund, to divest from fossil fuel companies was passed unanimously by councillors on Monday, October 7.

The motion was put forward by Councillor Pete Lowe, who addressing full council, said: "Tackling such a colossal challenge requires action at all levels - international, national, and local. That is why I have decided to bring this motion forward.”

The local authority currently has no investments in fossil fuel firms but the Fund has nearly half a billion pounds invested in the oil, coal and gas industries.

The motion calls on the Council and the Fund to explore possible alternative investments in the clean energy industry.

Dudley is the second local authority after Birmingham City Council to approve the motion, following years of campaigning from the Divest West Midlands Pension Fund group.

Kay Edwards, from DivestWMPF, who is a Dudley resident and pension fund member said: “We are delighted that Dudley have voted for this motion which will build momentum for the West Midlands to end destructive fossil fuel funding. Shell, BP and other fossil fuel companies have no place in public pension funds, as they continue to pour investment into new oil and gas projects.”

Councillor Simon Phipps, who backed the motion with an amendment, said: "I’m really pleased that members of the council were able to get behind the amended motion, which is both financially responsible and demonstrates the council’s commitment to action on climate change.

"I hope that the pension fund will now take action by exploring the feasibility of alternative investments that will not detrimentally affect the fund financially.

"Once that information has been collated, members of the fund should be consulted to see if this is what they want to do.

"The West Midlands could be a world leader in carbon neutral technology. My amendment to the motion ensures that we will focus our investment to not only benefit the local environment, but also the regional economy."

The move was also welcomed by the Dudley Green Party, who joined with members of DivestWMPF to hold a climate vigil outside the Council House before the vote was held.

Andi Mohr, chair of the Dudley Green Party, said: "This is great news - it is vital that we change our economy to become clean and sustainable.

"Dudley Council backing the removal of dirty fossil fuels investments from the West Midlands Pension Fund, is long-overdue, but it's very welcome."

"I'm very grateful to the campaigners at Divest WMPF who have worked so hard to help councillors see how important this is, and to Labour's Cllr Lowe and Conservative Cllr Phipps who have worked to ensure cross-party support."

"If we want to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown we must put aside our political differences and focus on taking strides towards cleaning up our act. We're in a climate emergency - let's act like it."