EXTINCTION Rebellion Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch have called on Barclays, HSBC and Santander to ‘clean up your act’ on fossil fuel funding with a staged a series of protests along Poole High Street.

The Extinction Rebellion activists urged the banks to ‘clean up your act’ by ending finance for oil, gas and coal companies and advised customers to ‘clean up’ their personal finances, by switching to ‘fossil-free’ banks.

Dressed as cleaners and armed with sponges and buckets, the climate activists proceeded to ‘deep clean’ the three banks before moving on on their own accord.

Melissa Carrington from Extinction Rebellion Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole said: “It was really good, the demonstrations were very well received by the public and we got a good reception from residents.

“Lots of people were curious about what we were doing and asking questions about the reasoning behind the protest.

“I had one person who came up to me and asked what we were doing, and he said he didn’t know that his bank was still paying money to fossil fuel companies.

“He said, ‘I am going to write a letter to the manager of the bank about it’.”

According to a 2020 report by BankTrack, Barclay’s, HSBC & Santander have funnelled a total of $231bn into the fossil fuel industry in the four years since the Paris Agreement was adopted.

This puts them amongst the top providers of finance to fossil fuel companies in the world.

Mum-to-be from Poole Hannah Walker, said: “The fossil fuel industry relies on funding from these high street banks to continue polluting and endangering our planet and our children’s future.

“I think many people would be horrified to learn that their family savings are effectively contributing to climate breakdown.”

Ralph Doe from Charminster added: “While planning this action, I realised that my bank is one of the biggest funders of the fossil fuel industry.

“I’m going to switch to a bank that makes a point of lending to socially responsible companies and green projects.

“I don’t want my savings to undermine my children’s future.”

So far in 2020 several leading banks have adopted commitments to reduce their exposures to the fossil fuel industry, to achieve net zero carbon emissions or to devote large sums to green and sustainable finance.

Although Barclay’s, HSBC and Santander have made some policy improvements this year they have all fallen short of what is required to keep their financing in line with the Paris agreement target.