Local authorities have ‘conflict of interest’ on fracking investments

Goodey, Jan and Milmo, Cahal (2014) Local authorities have ‘conflict of interest’ on fracking investments. Independent on Sunday, 28 Apr, p. 4. ISSN (print) 0958-1723


I broke this story and it became a primary point of reference for those engaged in investigating the public sector finances of the fossil fuel industry and in particular those companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing. As an exclusive article its influence was deep as previous information had been limited and no other journalists had discovered such substantial empirical findings. The depth of research was rigorous and extensive. I spent 18 months (without pay or funding) sending out 99 separate Freedom of Information Act requests to all Local Government Pension Schemes in the country. This data was then collated into a giant dataset which contained 54,000 rows of Excel spreadsheet material. This information proved not only an innovative contribution on a national newspaper scale (readership online and in print of up to 400,000 readers: The Independent newspaper and website and i newspaper newspaper and website) but further to that it proved a valuable resource to local newspaper journalists with whom I shared the dataset on a number of different occasions – also setting up a resource-based website (http://asset-tracker.org/)

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