Extinction Rebellion campaigned in the County Hall grounds planting a tree without permission.
They also caused disruption in the meeting chamber by dropping a banner from the balcony.
The local group say they are doing this to draw attention to the County Council because of their ‘continued failure to begin selling their pension fund’s fossil fuel investments.’
A spokesperson said:
‘In February, the nine voting councillors on the Pensions Fund Committee refused their gift of symbolic saplings, so during today’s meeting, Extinction Rebellion dug up an area of grass and planted their own symbolic 4-foot tree with a plaque saying “A Message to the Future – This English Oak tree was planted to mark the failure of the Nottinghamshire local government pension scheme committee to take urgent action to divest away from fossil fuels” and continues “This plaque is to acknowledge we are in a climate and ecological emergency and know what must be done. Only you in the future will know if we succeeded”. Underneath is a reference to the ever-increasing amount of CO2 in the atmosphere due to the burning of oil, gas and coal, currently measured at a dangerous level of 415PPM.’
”I’m aware that what we’re doing today could be considered criminal damage, but digging up a bit of grass to plant a tree is really an act of community protection! I know the vital role trees can play in reducing the effects of the climate crisis. It’s the inactivity of the Pensions Committee that’s criminal!” said Dr Tom Barber, from Mapperley Park, one of the four Extinction Rebellion rebels who helped plant the tree.”
Rachel Adams, pension fund holder, from Nottingham said “I’m astonished that only Councillor Hollis seems to have heeded the many warnings that these investments are really risky. At the last meeting Tom Hollis spoke in favour of selling these shares, and then he helped plant the nine symbolic saplings at Colwick Wood. But the Committee won’t listen, so we need a bigger message! That’s why we’re planting a bigger tree!”
Leader of Ashfield District Council, Councillor Tom Hollis said “This County Council are light years behind where they need to be in terms of environmental responsibility. It’s imperative that Councils show leadership – investing in fossil fuels is irresponsible.”
During the meeting members of Extinction Rebellion unfurled a banner inside the council chamber expressing their frustration at the Committee’s lack of action. “The Committee is sleep-walking to ecological disaster! On average £5,300 of each employees money is contributing to this, and these Councillors are doing nothing!” said Sheila Ravnkilde, from West Bridgford, one of the rebels who helped drop the banner from the balcony.
“With Shell’s share price falling and warnings from The Bank of England and the UN about these investments becoming stranded assets, it is definitely time to divest!” says Kay Head, Self-employed, New Basford.