MEMBERS of the Borders branch of Extinction Rebellion joined other activists last week as they protested against global investment firm, Baillie Gifford's links to the fossil fuel industry.

Campaigners staged an 11 hour blockade, holding banners, singing songs and handing out leaflets outside the investment managers' office on Greenside Row, Edinburgh.

Rebels said that Baillie Gifford, one of the managers of the pension fund for MSPs, had increased its investment in Shell by 19 per cent.

Pauline Stewart, from Longformacus, and Kate Duncan, from Paxton, locked themselves together, blocking the entrance to the building.

Pauline said: "We fail to see how MSPs can properly regulate the oil and gas industry when their pension money helps fund it."

Kate added: "Baillie Gifford and MSPs say they care deeply about the impact of climate change - and they may do but they need some joined up thinking.

"We say they must stop funding the industry that is the root cause of the problem.

"People pay into pensions to provide for their futures, but investing in the oil industry funds the destruction of the planet, all our futures, our children’s, my grandchildren’s futures."

Dr Shelagh King from XR Scottish Borders was part of the public engagement team. She said: "A few raised eyebrows but most said they shared our anxiety, our terror, about the climate crisis and supported our actions.

"They’ve seen fires ripping across Australia, they’ve seen the melting glaciers in the Arctic, Greenland and the Antarctic.

"The suddenness and severity of it has shocked so many of us, despite our acute awareness of the dangers."

In response, a spokesperson from Baillie Gifford told us: "We cannot comment on individual client portfolio holdings.

"We take climate change seriously and are proud of being early investors in some of the world’s most progressive and innovative companies.

"Our focus is on long term growth investments for our clients which means our investment strategies are increasingly geared towards supporting a transition to a low carbon economy.

"We believe in being part of this conversation and supporting companies on this journey towards a sustainable future.

"We are also committed to managing our own environmental impact and our goal is to set a positive example as an investor, an employer, and as a business in the places that we work."

The protest ended, after Extinction Rebellion and the police negotiated the unlocking, with no arrests and charges.

Baillie Gifford are also supporters of events in the Borders - acting as sponsors of the Borders Book Festival.