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Activists scale East Sussex County Hall to demand council sever ties with fossil fuel firms

EXTINCTION REBELLION activists scaled the offices of East Sussex County Council in Lewes today to demand that it stop investing pensions in fossil fuels. 

The protesters unfurled a banner from the county hall reading “ESCC: Which side are you on? Fossil fuels or climate action?” 

Activists from Divest East Sussex, who have spent a decade campaigning on the issue, participated in the protest wielding a large pair of cardboard scissors, urging the council to sever ties.

Campaigners handed over a letter addressed to Keith Glazier, leader of ESCC, urging the council to take action.

XR South East campaigner Mark Engineer warned: “This is just the start. There’s more to come if we don’t see meaningful action. 

“We’ll continue to take non-violent direct action against ESCC until they do the right thing and divest.”

The East Sussex Pension Fund, which also covers Brighton and Hove, currently holds around £28.2 million in fossil fuel investments in firms such as Shell and BP, campaigners say.

In June, it was announced that a long-delayed vote on divestment would be postponed yet again despite a report commissioned by the council appearing to support the case for divestment. 

Gabriel Carlyle from DES said: “Last year the Fund spent £55,000 of public money on a report which appeared to show that divestment would have no negative repercussions for the Fund and be straightforward to implement.

“Yet a vote on divestment was delayed, citing the need for further analysis.”

He added: “It’s time for the Fund to start taking the climate crisis seriously, stop its endless foot-dragging, and vote now to stop investing in fossil fuels.”

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