WEST Yorkshire councils have invested £671 million of pension funds in fossil fuel companies like BP and Shell, according to analysis released today.

The information released under Freedom of Information rules shows that West Yorkshire Pension Fund holds the third largest fossil fuel holdings of all UK local authority pension funds.

Public sector workers at authorities in West Yorkshire pay into the local government pension scheme pooled fund, which is administered in Bradford, with former Bradford Council leader Ian Greenwood its head.

The research, by environment groups, including 350.org, Platform, and Friends of the Earth shows that 6.5 per cent of the West Yorkshire scheme's pension fund is invested in fossil fuels, including £207m in BP and £171 in Shell.

This equates to at least £300 per West Yorkshire resident, their analysis shows.

The campaigners are calling for local councils to switch their investments away from fossil fuels, to help curb greenhouse gas emissions and ensure they are managing the funds responsibly.

Leaving public sector workers' pensions in fossil fuels risks the assets becoming "stranded" and losing value as the world shifts away from fossil fuels to low-carbon economies to tackle climate change, the groups warn.

Jane Thewlis, WYPF member and Bradford resident, said: “Many people working for Bradford Council and the other local authorities belonging to WYPF will be concerned to learn that their future is tied up with such a risky and polluting industry. When governments do act to prevent dangerous climate change, the business model for fossil fuel companies will be over, and that day is fast approaching. If oil and gas companies keep on drilling in their final days, it will make climate change far worse – it is the right decision both financially and ethically for WYPF and Bradford and other local member councils to divest as soon as possible.