Incineration – investment is unethical, Lynn News letters
County Hall recently confirmed that investment managers made a presentation to the pensions committee that showed waste energy production (incinerators) as a potential “investment opportunity” for the Norfolk Pension Fund. I asked what the committee voted to do, but County Hall says there is no public right to know, as this is “exempt information” and there is no right for councillors to know either. This is outrageous.
How dare they tell that to the 65,000 West Norfolk residents, who voted ‘no’ to an incinerator in the borough’s poll, when the Conservatives tried to build their incinerator in South Lynn seven years ago?
It gets worse. County Hall officers issued a diktat to stop the right of members to attend committees, where there is exempt information being heard. There is no legal basis for this and I have objected strongly.
The Councillors’ Code of Conduct refers to honesty, openness, integrity. The law says that pension funds should be transparent about their investments. But County Hall says this is about protecting commercial interests and you should not be told. I say this is about the public interest and that comes first.
County Hall is on another planet from the public. Councils do not fund incinerators any more through PFIs, so getting a hapless council to invest its pension fund in incineration is the way incinerator companies fund themselves. Norfolk should have no part in this. Incineration is an outdated technology, unethical, and loss-making in the long term; councils are coming out of their contracts, as they find them too costly. Pollution regulation is weak. This kind of investment could put the pension fund at risk – and West Norfolk at risk again, if the investment fund applies for planning permission to build an incinerator here. Even letting an investment manager present this “opportunity” is an insult to the people of West Norfolk and should never have happened.
I have demanded that County Hall should send written instructions to the pension fund
managers to tell them Norfolk does not want to invest in incineration. You can write to the pension fund trustees and express your opinion and ask them to rule out a fund to build incinerators as an unethical investment.
County Councillor Clenchwarton and Lynn South