EMPLOYEES at Bolton Council and the University of Bolton are having their pension pots tied up in "risky fossil fuel investments" with firms like BP and Shell, according to new research.

Date released by the Greater Manchester Pension Fund shows that it has £1.3 billion of public money invested through their pension funds in fossil fuel investments — which its is claimed are at risk of falling in value as world leaders attempt to tackle climate change.

The GMPF is the largest local authority pension scheme in the UK and follows the rules of the Local Government Pension Scheme.

All 10 borough councils in the region — including Bolton — are signed up to the scheme, and professional support and research staff at the University of Bolton are also automatically entered into it.

The latest research, from campaign groups including 350.org and Friends of the Earth shows that 9.8 per cent of the total fund of nearly £13.3 billion has been invested in fossil fuel firms like BP, Shell, Anglo American and Glencore.

Chris Smith, a spokesman for Fossil Free Greater Manchester, said: “The many people working for Greater Manchester’s local authorities will be concerned to learn that their future is tied up with such risky fossil fuel investments.

“When governments do act to prevent dangerous climate change, the business model for fossil fuels will be over — and that day is fast approaching.”

The group is now calling on the GMPF to withdraw the investments — as they are also promoting climate change.

Mr Smith said: “Greater Manchester led the industrial revolution on the back of fossil fuels — and now it’s time for us to lead the world out of the fossil fuel era.”

A spokesman for GMPF said: “The fund’s management panel takes its responsibilities very seriously in looking after the pension promises of more than 340,000 members, and its fiduciary duty in looking after the members’ interests and the assets in the fund.

“It is critical that we assess all financial risks to the fund, including those posed by fossil fuels.

“The issues relating to investing in companies that generate a significant proportion of their sales and profits from fossil fuels are exceptionally complex.”

He added: “The fund also has investments in renewable energy and it is increasing its exposure to such investments.”