AN ENVIRONMENTAL law firm has warned the city council it is at risk of legal action if it does not introduce a proper plan to tackle climate change.

Lawyers from ClientEarth have written to Worcester City Council highlighting its legal obligation to set out carbon reduction targets and ensure they are central to planning policy.

ClientEarth climate lawyer Sam Hunter Jones said: “There is a collective failure by local authorities across England to plan adequately for climate change. Too often climate change is perceived to be just a national or international issue and therefore solely the responsibility of central government.

“Yet so many of the daily decisions around new and existing infrastructure – such as new buildings, roads and utilities – are made at the local level.

"All of these decisions will ‘lock in’ an area’s future emissions and its resilience to climate change.

“Each and every planning decision taken today must be in line with long-term climate goals, because what and how we build today will determine our climate impact and resilience in the crucial decades to come.”

Worcester City Council said it has already recruited an environmental sustainability officer who will support the authority and the rest of the city go carbon neutral in the next ten years.

In July, city councillors agreed to declare a climate emergency in Worcester with an aim of going carbon neutral by 2030.

The council said it has also tackled climate change by buying electric vehicles, making the Guildhall more energy efficient, planting more than 4,000 trees in the last three years and installing solar panels and electric charging points at St Martin's Gate car park.

The city council said it also uses policies on carbon reduction and energy efficiency in the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) when making planning decisions.

The main policy in the SWDP on renewable energy requires new developments to generate at least 10 per cent of predicted energy from renewable or low carbon sources as well as keep emissions and consumption to a minimum.