Agenda item

Notices of Motion

To receive Notices of Motion submitted under Standing Order No.12


A climate emergency has been declared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Action is required at all levels of government and at Rushcliffe Borough Council, we now aim to consider climate breakdown in all our activities, showing our commitment to the future quality of life of our residents and their children.


There has been a call nationally and locally for us to divest from fossil fuels.  This is not a risky strategy since as decarbonisation efforts intensify, fossil fuel stocks are expected to reduce in value, meaning that the relative performance of standard investment portfolios will decline further. Fossil free investment portfolios already outperform standard investment portfolios1 and this suggests that fossil fuel based investments are an increasing risk to the council.


We note that Nottingham County Council’s Investment Strategy Statement states that “Diversification is a key technique available to institutional investors for improving risk-adjusted returns.”  


This Council agrees to:

(1)  Conduct an immediate audit of all its investments to ascertain the current level of fossil fuel equity investments.

(2)  Conduct an immediate audit of the carbon footprint of its operational assets through its Carbon Reduction Work Programme.

(3)  Divest from fossil fuel as a way of ensuring a better world for the people of Rushcliffe and as a way of ensuring a better return for RBC's investments.

(4)  Lobby Nottinghamshire Pension Fund to follow the same course of action.


1 For example see:



Councillor J Walker


Following cross party discussions, the following altered motion was moved by Councillor J Walker and seconded by Councillor Gaunt:


“This Council agrees to:


(1)       Conduct an immediate audit of all its investments to ascertain the current level of fossil fuel equity investments.


(2)       Conduct an immediate audit of the carbon footprint of its operational assets through its Carbon Reduction Work Programme.


(3)       Incorporate in its Environmental Plans the reduction of the use, and future investment in, fossil fuels wherever possible.”


It was RESOLVED that Council accept the altered motion. 


The altered motion became the motion and was discussed.


Councillor J Walker in moving the motion stated that it was simple economics to vote for the motion given that fossil fuel investment continued to decline as the market realised that to remain within the guidelines of the Paris Accord, fossil fuels would have to remain in the ground, thus changing their status to stranded assets. As a newly elected Councillor with a family, she felt the decision could not be simpler, by voting for the motion, it would mean something positive had been achieved and young people in particular would see that the Council was trying to make a difference. Young people were not interested in the Council’s excuses; they wanted to hear that Councillors had done everything possible. She asked Councillors to cast their minds ahead and consider the bleak future for the planet if nothing was done. The decisions taken by the Council could offer another vision for others to follow. International efforts to reduce carbon emissions to reduce catastrophic climate change would result in the majority of known fossil fuel reserves being left unused. The market value of fossil fuel companies was based largely on the notion that all known reserves could be exploited; however, as international policies changed it was becoming increasingly apparent that those reserves would soon be rendered useless and that would result in share prices falling and significant losses for fossil fuel industries. The decisions made by the Council now could have lasting implications and Councillors were urged to vote for this Motion. 


In seconding the motion, Councillor Gaunt reiterated the concerns already addressed regarding future investment in fossil fuels, as markets became increasingly risky and companies were left with assets that could no longer be utilised. Traditionally more investment had been provided for fossil fuels rather than renewables. The Institute for Sustainable Development had outlined that a shift of 10% from fossil fuels to renewables would pay for the transition to clean energy. Annual investment in renewables for electricity generation had been greater than for fossil fuels since 2008 and renewable capacity had exceeded fossil fuel capacity each year since 2014. Politically, subsidies on fossil fuels would become increasingly less palatable due to worsening climate change. If Rushcliffe took the lead and encouraged other local councils to do the same, it would send a message to central Government. New research undertaken by the University of Nottingham, in conjunction with the British Geological Society had identified that shale gas reserves in northern England could be as little as 10% of the original estimates. Any investment in shale gas and fracking could therefore be jeopardised. Financial analysis had shown that investment portfolios that excluded fossil fuel companies performed at least as well as those that included them. There was considerable scope to invest locally in sustainable projects that would bring considerable, social, economic and environment benefits to the area and Councillors were urged to support the motion.


Councillor Robinson referred to the importance of this issue for all parties. It was disappointing to note that a recent application to allow deep coal mining in northern England had been approved by a Labour run council and endorsed by Labour central office. In Rushcliffe the Council’s environmental ambition was outstanding, with current initiatives including the free tree scheme proving extremely effective. The Council would continue to lobby both the Government and developers to improve environmental standards on all new housing and it was hoped that the Abbey Road development would be an exemplar scheme. Motions had to be realistic, pragmatic and deliverable and the motion now achieved that.


Councillor Richard Mallender referred to the movement away from fossil fuel technology and investment, even in the Middle East. The move to renewable technology was vital as environmental concerns continued to grow.


Councillor Major welcomed the motion and hoped that it would be a catalyst for the future.


Councillor Thomas supported the motion. She requested that the carbon reduction work programme should include a change to the standard format of committee reports to include an additional section to assess the impact of the matter under consideration on climate change.


Councillor Combellack stated that the Council continued to be proactive and this matter was on the agenda for scrutiny.


Councillor J Walker noted her disappointment in the recent decision to allow a new deep coalmine and stated that everyone had to take responsibility for previous actions.


There was no further debate on the motion. On being put to the vote, the motion was carried.