CITY councillors will be asked to formally oppose fracking, ditch fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy on Monday.

Former city council leader John Tanner will ask his colleagues to support a plan to ditch considerable investment in fossil fuels from a major county pension fund.

Mr Tanner will tell the council that campaigners have said that of the £2bn Oxfordshire Pension Fund, about £84m is invested in companies that carry out or back fracking.

Fracking is used to recover oil and gas from shale rock by drilling down into the earth. In the process, water, sand and chemicals are pushed into the rock at high pressure, allowing gas to pour out of the top. That is then recovered.

Mr Tanner will ask for Oxford City Council to vote that ‘investment in fracking is damaging to the environment’, and that carrying out the practice is ‘not a sound investment for the future’.

Instead, he will say, money should be plugged into renewable alternatives.

He will ask that the city council then resolves to call on Oxfordshire County Council, which partly manages the pension fund, ‘to disinvest in fracking in particular and fossil fuels in general and to invest instead of renewable energy’.

More than 200 employers and their staff contribute to the Oxfordshire Pension Fund. It is responsible for maintaining, administering and paying out benefits from that fund.

According to campaigners, the pension fund has investments in Shell, BHP Billiton, EOG Resources, Marathon Oil and Pioneer Natural Resources.

In the case of Shell, the £24.5m investment is an indirect fracking investment.

It is also understood it has £4.9m invested in BHP Billiton, £3.9m in EOG Resources, £2.8m in Marathon Oil and another £2.6m in Pioneer Natural Resources.

On Wednesday, three anti-fracking protesters were jailed for their roles in a demonstration. In doing so they became the first people caged in the UKfor their roles in an environmental protest since 1932.

Simon Roscoe Blevins, 26, and Richard Roberts, 36, were sentenced to 16 months in prison. Richard Loizou, 31, got 15 months.

All three were convicted of causing a public nuisance by a jury at Preston Crown Court in August.

They had taken part in a four-day protest that blocked trucks from taking drilling equipment into a fracking site near Blackpool.

The site, Preston New road, has been a popular spot for protests following the Government’s decision to allow energy firm Cuadrilla to drill for shale gas at wells on the site in October 2016.

Fracking is set to start there in the next few weeks.

Oxfordshire County Council has a legal duty to run the pension fund. But there are rules that outline what the council can do.

The board’s representatives are: Sandy Lovatt, a Vale of White Horse district councillor, Bob Johnston, a Vale councillor and county councillor and David Locke, the chief operating officer and finance director for the Oxford Diocesan School Trust.

Other representatives include Alistair Bastin, who represents Unison at the county council and Stephen Davis, Unite’s rep at the city council.