Just 5% of public feel prepared for climate change, poll suggests

Debris and floodwater in allotments in Retford, Nottinghamshire, in October (Jacob King/PA)
Debris and floodwater in allotments in Retford, Nottinghamshire, in October (Jacob King/PA)

Just 5% of the British public feel prepared for climate change, according to a poll for the Local Government Association (LGA).

The survey, conducted by YouGov, asked more than 2,100 adults about their concerns around global warming following extreme weather events in recent years.

It found that 63% of respondents are worried about climate change while only 12% think it will not impact their local area.

The public were most worried about storms, flooding and heatwaves while they were least worried about wildfires or the impact on the economy and public services, the survey found.

The research also found that just 21% trusted central government and its agencies the most to ensure that their area is prepared for any future impacts of climate change, compared with local councils, services, community groups and businesses.

The LGA, which represents councils across England and Wales, is now calling for the Chancellor’s autumn statement next week to signal a rapid acceleration in the adaptation work needed to prepare the country for the impacts of climate change.

This includes measures to protect the most vulnerable, build flood defences, secure local infrastructure, cool homes and buildings, and to be ready for water and food insecurity.

Councils are also calling for Government guidance on critical thresholds for different weather patterns, including the threshold temperatures that different services can change or close, from play areas to libraries.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, environment spokesperson for the LGA, said: “Councils want to play their full role in preparing people and places for the impacts of climate change on local areas.

“As extreme weather events become more frequent and intense, the public sense of unpreparedness will undoubtedly harden and grow.

“Councils are doing fantastic work to tackle climate change and we want our communities to feel secure in their homes and local areas.

“The public trust us most because we are rooted in communities and understand places, we must be given the tools and funding needed to make that happen.”

It comes as the LGA warns that councils in England face a funding gap of £4 billion over the next two years.

The PA news agency has contacted the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for comment.