Local councils have asked for the government to provide more help to prepare for the impact of climate change.
In particular, risks to residents’ health from heatwaves is considered one of the greatest climate concerns for councils following record-breaking heatwaves last summer that led to thousands of excess deaths across the country.
The LGA called on the government to enable urgent acceleration of local adaptation action as part of its forthcoming National Adaptation Programme (NAP).
The NAP sets out the actions that government and others will take to adapt to the challenges of climate change in England over a five-year period. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are currently working on the third iteration of the NAP which is expected to be published this summer and will run from 2024 to 2029.
The LGA said it must include more to raise the awareness of how people and partners can adapt to climate change, that it should improve the availability of data to prepare for climate risks in places, and that policies and investments should reflect adaptation as well as net-zero efforts.
An LGA survey also found that damage to critical infrastructure and buildings, including roads and homes, ranks as the second greatest concern for councils, while 21 per cent of responding councils said a “lack of data” was a barrier in addressing climate impacts. “Lack of funding and/or available finance” was also the top identified barrier (93 per cent) faced by authorities
Cllr Linda Taylor, environment spokesperson for the LGA, said: “The impacts of climate change are going to intensify into the future and councils are warning people and places will be left increasingly vulnerable without further preparation. Councils need support to prepare their communities for impacts of climate change now.
“The extreme heat we all experienced last summer is just one of many effects we expect to reoccur; the year before that we had significant flash flooding. Councils need the funding and resources to adequately reduce the risks to lives and livelihoods.
“As the leaders of local areas, councils are at the forefront of local climate action, they must be made able to protect their residents.”