The council is still investing some of its pension funds in fossil fuel companies, despite promising to stop doing so in 2016.

Waltham Forest Council became the first authority in the country to promise to entirely stop investing in fossil fuels by 2021 and last month the authority declared a climate emergency.

But the council still owns substantial shares in oil and gas companies across the world and did not disclose any of its investments in any coal or other fossil fuel-related companies worldwide.

Figures from December 2018 show the council invested £29.5 million from its pensions pot in a variety of oil and gas firms, including £8.6 million buying shares in BP and £14.1 million in Shell.

Currently, the council is enrolled in the London Collective Investment Vehicle (CIV) along with all of the other 32 boroughs in the capital.

This group sees council pension funds pooled and invested together in various companies. The decision as to which companies are invested in is not down to the individual councils, but the group.

As of December 31, 2018, it is estimated that fossil fuels accounted for 1.1 per cent (or £3.2 million) of the funds managed through the London CIV.

Away from CIV investments, however, Waltham Forest Council still separately invests in fossil fuel firms, pumping millions into smaller, lesser known oil and gas companies on top of its shares in BP and Shell.

A full break down of the amount of funding from the council’s pension funds that are being invested in oil and gas is as follows:

Emerging Markets (through the London CIV):

  • Cairn: £0.6 million

Global Alpha investments (through the London CIV):

  • Apache Corp: £2.7 million

UK Equities:

  • Serica Energy: £1.4 million
  • Amerisur Resources: £2.1 million
  • BP: £8.6 million
  • Royal Dutch Shell: £14.1 million

Total: £29.5 million

This total does not include any investments in coal firms or companies that operate solely in the fossil fuel industry such as pipeline construction firms, which have not yet been disclosed.

The total amount in the Waltham Forest Council pension fund is £873 million.

Earlier this month, reports from the Waltham Forest Green Party stated the council still had £62.9 million invested in fossil fuel companies, including oil, gas, coal and related firms, at the end of the 2017/18 financial year in March 2018.

That amount was just £200,000 lower than the authority’s original investment levels of £63.1 million in September 2016 when it promised to fully divest, nearly 2.5 years earlier.

But the council has stated those figures are now out of date.

A spokesman for the authority said there was substantial progress in the council’s divestment from fossil fuels in the final months of 2018 alone.

They said: “The pension committee is in the process of developing an approach to achieve the aim to fully divest by 2021 and at the same provide the pension benefits for scheme members.

“The council is determined to cut carbon emissions both in its ways of working and its pension fund investments. We believe working together for a better environment creates a better quality of life for everyone. “