Image source, LDRS

Image caption,

The deal between Suffolk County Council’s company Vertas and Gazprom was agreed in 2019

A council plans to stop using gas from Russian company Gazprom as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Suffolk County Council said it would break away from its £10m contract with the state-owned energy supplier, held by its wholly owned company Vertas.

Council leader Matthew Hicks said the county was “actively pursuing” ending the contract.

The 2019 deal started in 2020 and is due to run until 2023, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

It resulted in Gazprom supplying gas to several schools and offices in the county.

Russia attacks Ukraine: More coverage

Conservative Mr Hicks said: “When Vladimir Putin made the immoral and utterly reprehensible decision to invade Ukraine, I instructed officers last week to review our contract with Russian-owned energy company Gazprom.

“I can confirm that we have decided to invoke our options to break away from the contract, ending our connection with Gazprom.”

He added it was “a part we can play in helping to bring to an end this act of aggression on a free and peaceful nation and its innocent people”.

Andrew Stringer, leader of the opposition Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group, said: “I welcome our council’s reconsideration of our funding of Gazprom.”

Wealden District Council in East Sussex, which uses Gazprom to supply gas to its social housing, told the BBC it was also looking at its “options and obligations”.

A spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA), who represent councils in England and Wales, said: “Councils are deeply saddened by the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine and are following the situation closely.

“It is up to individual councils to decide how to act locally but, like many organisations, they will be reviewing what action they might want to take in light of UK sanctions and the ongoing situation.”

On Monday, Shell announced it would end all of its joint ventures with Gazprom following the invasion of Ukraine.

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