Council leaders are calling for the spending review to include £1bn to modernise sport facilities, after warning nearly two-thirds of the leisure estate is past its replacement date.
The Local Government Association (LGA) warned that ageing sport and leisure facilities are hampering efforts to meet net zero targets as they account for up to 40% of a council's carbon emission output.
A new report, published by the LGA in partnership with the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) and Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association (CLOA), argues that investment in public sport and leisure facilities and services is key to levelling up the health of the nation.
The report urges the new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities to ensure the contribution of public leisure services to the nation’s wellbeing is communicated to health partners and included in strategies to promote good health, reduce obesity, promote physical activity and prevent illness.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: 'Councils have demonstrated, more than ever, that they are best placed to deliver services at pace for their local communities, if empowered and resourced to do so.
'Public sport and leisure facilities and services are a part of the social infrastructure of the nation. With the right investment and Government support, councils can do far more to maximise the benefits of sport and leisure services and build on their existing work to level up their communities, from improving health, to reducing emissions and driving regeneration.'