WEST Yorkshire Pension Fund has intimated there is no need to fix something that is not yet broken and will not disinvest in the fossil fuel sector in the immediate future.

However, it will continue to monitor the sector's progress while investing in green energy technology, members of Bradford Council's scrutiny and overview committee heard.

In his report, Rodney Barton, director of the WYPF which is administered by Bradford Council, said despite earlier slumps in oil and gas prices, which have since recovered, the main companies such as BP and Shell continued to pay dividends.

"Over the long-term the performance of these shares has been robust, resilient and consistently strong.

"The Fund is better off as a result of holding these investments for the last 30 years by the equivalent of £4 million per annum," he said.

The WYPF at March 31 had £11 billion of assets with 270,000 members in the scheme.

"The Investment Advisory Panel - consisting of elected members of the five West Yorkshire District Councils - has a responsibility to ensure the portfolio is balanced and not taking undue risks against the index.

"Selling significant shareholdings (such as the 38 million BP shares it holds) would push the share price down. Dividend income would also fall. In 2015/16, dividend income to the Fund from UK oil and mining and companies was £33 million."

Mr Barton told the meeting that much of the leading edge research into solar and battery technology was being undertaken or funded by those companies.

However, he added: "Should it be appropriate to disinvest we should do so."

He said a global switch from oil and gas to green energy could well happen in the future but added: "It is not something that is going to happen in a great hurry. A switch from oil and gas to alternative energy sources would take several decades and energy companies should be taking account of this in their business plans."

He said WYPF had been addressing climate change since the early 1990s and had been a key sponsor of resolutions to companies in the sector requiring them to demonstrate how they were tackling climate change and its risks.

The Fund, a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, also encouraged companies in which its members invest to address risks and opportunities and shift to a lower carbon economy.

Councillor Sue Duffy (Lab, Thornton & Allerton) said she would feel more confident if the report had been more balanced.

"I would have liked to see a risk assessment for the future, rather than looking back," she said.

"As a pension fund recipient it would make me more confident."

Mr Barton said while Fund managers did keep their eye on the market, looking forward was "essentially guesswork" and that it was down to the investment management to manage risks.

Councillor Andrew Mallinson (Con, Craven) said he was happy with the Fund was being managed.

"I think, rather than being negative about investments, I think these are exciting times. Modern technology is moving forward at a great pace and I am confident that the direction you (the Fund) is going in is sound."

But Simon Bullock, a West Yorkshire disinvestment campaigner, said while he welcomed the Fund's efforts to engage companies to change their business practices to be more in line with climate change goals, he believed an engagement-only approach brought overly large financial risks to the Fund.

"We suggest three additions to the engagement-only recommendation: partial disinvestment of coal, oil and gas stocks to reduce risks; set clear, timetabled engagement goals and conduct a full, independent climate change risk assessment," he said.