A Bucks woman with incurable cancer has refused to pay her council tax due to council’s fossil fuel connections.

Campaigners in Buckinghamshire have rallied public support for a campaign calling on Buckinghamshire Council to stop financing fossil fuels through the public purse.

Last week, the 'Bucks Council Tax Strike' campaign reached a milestone, when one of their activists Dr Jane McCarthy was hauled in front of the courts for refusing to pay her council tax because of fears about where the money was being invested by Bucks Council.

Dr McCarthy, a 71-year-old Aylesbury resident, explained why she’s chosen financial, non-violent protest: “What we’re asking them to do is to stop financing fossil fuels, and on the one hand they bank with Barclays, and Barclays is the bank in the whole of Europe that provides the most finance to fossil fuel industries.

“They’re an unhelpful bank, dangerous bank, to be using.

“In terms of the pension fund, they still have £63 million invested in fossil fuels.

“At the most recent pensions fund committee meeting we have put questions which we ask them [Buckinghamshire Council] to answer in public session, but they refuse to do that.

Bucks Free Press: The Aylesbury Quaker Jane McCarthy is refusing to pay her Council Tax.The Aylesbury Quaker Jane McCarthy is refusing to pay her Council Tax.

“The situation is so dire, which we can all absolutely see right now.

“For myself, I’m a Quaker, and it’s a matter of moral and conscious that I cannot be handing over money that I know is being used to destroy my children’s future, and that’s what it amounts to.”

Since withholding her money from the beginning of April, Dr McCarthy now owes £1,600 in council tax, and she was subject to a court hearing on July 20 during the extreme heat that led to several fires across UK and Bucks.

The situation could open her up to bailiffs, so she wasn’t doing it lightly, she said.

She explained: “Fossil fuels are by far the main contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, approaching 75 per cent.

“The IPCC has said that greenhouse gasses have to start declining immediately, and nearly halved in the next eight years, and that’s to have any hope at all keeping to 1.5 Centigrade.

“The International Energy Agency has said there must be no new oil, gas or coal developments, and yet that’s what the fossil fuel companies are doing, and Barclays bank is financing."

Although fighting climate crisis was down to everyone, leadership is needed to change industries and to built infrastructure for different way of living, she said.

Following her hearing at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court, the case was withdrawn.

Buckinghamshire Council couldn’t comment on the reason for the withdrawal because the case was ongoing.

She said: “I’d love to pay my council tax, because I know it’s really important.

“It helps pay for really essential services. So I have said to them if they could tell me how I could pay my council tax without the money going through Barclays bank at all, I’d pay 90 per cent of it.

“The other 10 per cent I’d pay if they change their policies on the pensions fund."

Bucks Free Press: A banner outside High Wycombe Magistrates' Court on July 20.A banner outside High Wycombe Magistrates' Court on July 20.

John Chilver, Bucks Council's cabinet member for finance, resources, property and assets said: “Council tax pays for a range of essential services for the local community and as a local authority, we have a legal duty to collect it. Delays in collection or non-recovery of debts leads to high administrative costs and results in lower resources available for vital council services.

“Residents have a legal duty to pay council tax and non-payment or delayed payment is a very serious matter that will ultimately be dealt with by the courts if not resolved.

“Buckinghamshire Council is fully committed to addressing the climate crisis and protecting our environment for future generations and has set out its Climate Change and Air Quality Strategy.

“Although the Buckinghamshire Pension Fund agrees the overall investment strategy, pension investment decisions are now largely made on our behalf by the Brunel Pension Partnership who are committed to transitioning to responsible, sustainable, low carbon investments.”