A FORMER LABOUR MP has said the city council's plea to make Worcester carbon neutral by 2030 was a "wasted opportunity" and has warned bringing the target forward for the whole of the city would be a "real risk."

Mike Foster, who was Worcester's MP from 1997 to 2010, said ignoring the government's target to go carbon neutral by 2050 was a mistake and called the decision to bring it forward to 2030 "virtue signalling."

He said: "They could have done something really positive but instead they just virtue signalled. It was really a wasted opportunity."

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

Mr Foster said if the council got it wrong it could have the opposite effect of forcing people towards the "Trumpian climate change deniers."

"There is a real risk that people needed to be aware of," he said.

The former MP said the cost of tackling climate change could cost up to £2 trillion in the next 30 years.

He said: "It will cost a lot of money.

"We have to do it but I don't think some of the councillors realise quite how much it is going to cost or the changes in lifestyle that are going to have to happen for it to work.

"It will be ordinary people who are paying for this and it will be taxpayers in Worcester who will be paying the price of trying to force things and make sure the target is met much earlier than the government recommends."

He said it was the city council trying to say it knew better than the government's climate change committee and said the council could have instead pledged to make the authority carbon neutral by 2030 - an area it actually has control over.

At the full meeting of Worcester City Council earlier this week, Cllr Marc Bayliss, leader of the city council, said the authority 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.