The Government must do more to help local areas adapt to climate change, councils in England have said.

The Local Government Association (LGA) asked more than 300 councils in England about concerns and barriers to adapting their services that cover roads, flooding, fire, housing, public health, the natural environment and social care to the changing climate.

It comes after the UK saw wildfires and significant infrastructure disruption as temperatures soared to record highs last year.

The LGA said 93% of councils surveyed identified lack of funding as a barrier to implementing climate adaptation.

Most identified the risk to people’s health from heatwaves as their greatest climate concern, according to the research.

This was followed by damage to critical infrastructure and buildings, then widespread risks from power system failures.

Meanwhile, more than a fifth of councils told the LGA that a lack of data was a barrier in addressing the climate impacts to communities and service delivery.

The LGA has now called on the Government to enable councils to accelerate local adaptation as part of its forthcoming National Adaptation Programme (NAP), which sets out the actions ministers 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) is expected to publish the third iteration of the NAP this summer and it will run from 2024 to 2029.

The LGA is urging the Government to include more in the NAP to raise 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.

Councils are also urging the Government to release guidance on critical thresholds for different weather patterns, including the temperatures at which different services can change or close, from play areas to libraries.

Councillor 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.”