"News that the Environment Agency has investments in some of the very industries it is paid to regulate is deeply shocking. There is a clear conflict here, which undermines the credibility of the Environment Agency and calls into question its independence and authority," UK Green Party MP Caroline Lucas was quoted as saying by The Independent on Sunday.
The EA has invested in nuclear power, fracking and incineration companies, as well as investing millions in diamond mining, tobacco, gambling and alcohol companies globally, the newspaper reported citing data acquired by a Freedom of Information request.
The data also indicated that the EA invested in the fracking giant Cuadrilla, which was subject to heavy protests earlier this year for it's planned drills in Lancashire town, northwest of UK. The Frack Free Ryedale anti-fracking groups also referred to this investment as the "very definition of a conflict in interests".
According to the latest available audit, the watchdog has also invested some 50 million pounds (almost $78 million) in oil giants as Shell, BP and BG Group as of March this year, in contrast to the agency's mission to invest 25 percent of the fund in sustainable and green economy.
The EA has a pension fund worth some 2.3 billion pounds (almost $3.6 billion) and is mandated to support sustainable development.