A CLIMATE emergency has been called in Worcester with a pledge to make the city carbon neutral by 2030.

The motion, put forward by Cllr Neil Laurenson and the council’s Green group was passed with the support of Labour councillors, was backed at a full meeting of Worcester City Council on Tuesday (July 16).

Cllr Laurenson repeated the words of 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg who said: “We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.”

Fellow Green Cllr Marjoy Bisset asked councillors to put aside their differences and agree to take action for the common good.

She said the council could make the city’s air cleaner by deterring diesel and petrol cars and by making existing homes as energy efficient as possible, pushing for new homes to be carbon neutral as well as improving cycle and walking routes would make Worcester a more attractive place to “visit, live and do business in.”

Cllr Marc Bayliss, leader of the city council, said the council needed to act “carefully” to address the climate emergency and warned off rushing into plans that would “wreck” the economy.

His proposal to push the carbon neutral target to 2050 rejected.

Cllr Bayliss said 2030 was an “unrealistic” target, Cllr Chris Mitchell said the council would be setting itself a “false” target that was unachievable and Cllr Stephen Hodgson said an unrealistic target could lead to panic and ultimately bad decision making.

The council’s Conservatives were split over the motion with nine abstaining and seven voting against it.

Cllr Adrian Gregson said pushing the target back to 2050 was kicking the problem further down the road and would not be giving it the “commitment it deserved.”

Cllr Laurenson said changing the date was a “failure to acknowledge the extent of the emergency.”

The motion was passed thanks to support from the council’s Labour councillors.

Cllr Pat Agar said: “Logic dictates that whether we believe in climate change or not, we can’t afford to be wrong because if climate change is really happening and we really are influencing it, we must act and act fast.”