South Hams Climate Change and Biodiversity Newsletter

Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency News Update

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November 2020

Reducing our Carbon Footprint and increasing Biodiversity

Thank you for subscribing to this newsletter. This is a place for us to update you on what we are doing at South Hams District Council, what things are going on around the District, what's going on nationally and things, you, our residents and businesses, can be doing to reduce your carbon footprint and manage your land to improve the environment and its biodiversity.

If you have anything you would like to include in this newsletter then contact our Climate Change Specialist by email here and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Council Updates


District Council’s Hopes For Improved Home Insulation

As part of its drive to be carbon neutral by 2050, South Hams District Council has committed over £500,000 to improve the energy efficiency of households within the District.

A successful Council bid for The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funds, through the Green Homes Grant Scheme, has secured over £330,000 to help improve older homes’ energy efficiency as part of a plan to save households money and to cut carbon emissions.

The Council has also committed another £200,000 specifically targeted at low-income families living in fuel poverty and to underline its commitment to do it all can to tackle the global climate change and biodiversity challenges

Furthermore, in order to ensure that the scheme is delivered successfully the council has committed to releasing £20,000 from the Climate Change and Biodiversity Earmarked Reserve to support delivery of these schemes and help some of the most vulnerable in our community.

The Green Homes Grant project will focus on the installation of external wall insulation and air source heat pumps for eligible households.

This scheme would mean properties, which are off the mains gas supply and rely on alternative, less efficient sources of heating, such as oil and solid fuel, would benefit from these improvements early next year.

South Hams District Council’s Leader, Cllr Judy Pearce, said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to secure crucial funds to improve energy efficiency in homes, and to support some of our most vulnerable households while underlining our commitment to the Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency.

“With recent information forthcoming from Government on local authorities’ funding for the coming year, we are now able to go the extra mile by recommending further funding from our reserves to deliver this vital project and to provide extra officer time in looking at further ways to help carbon reduction.

“This is an important step in reducing the District’s carbon footprint in homes which don't currently benefit from efficient insulation or use inefficient methods of heating.” 

A member of South Hams District Council’s Climate Change and Biodiversity Working Group, and from the Green Party, Cllr Jacqi Hodgson, added: “It is so very important that we tackle this particular carbon issue with these very welcome new funds that have become available to us.

“By insulating homes and providing more efficient, renewable sources of heating can result in energy savings of between 10 and 30% and the installation of air source heat pumps and external wall insulation will go a long way towards this, so I’m very positive about this recommendation.”

Let's make this Christmas a less wasteful one


Last year, South Hams District Council joined may other authorities around the country in declaring a Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency.

With plans afoot to change the recycling service early next year, South Hams is totally committed to doing what it can to help residents be more environmentally friendly.

Cllr Keith Baldry South Hams District Council's Executive Member for Waste and recycling said: "Our new improved recycling and waste service comes into effect early next year, but that does not stop us committing to a more environmentally friendly Christmas now.

"With the COVID-19 restrictions we are likely to see a lot of people doing their Christmas shopping online, which will result in lots of card and boxes, all of which can be recycled.  

"We saw earlier in the year that the amount of waste and recycling dramatically increased when people were spending more time at home, and this is likely to be the case of the festive period - with fewer families gathering and taking Christmas holidays.

"So we are asking all residents in advance of the festive period, as you plan your Christmas, please think ahead.  There are lots of ways you can reduce what you buy and reuse what you have, which means that there will be less waste and more materials that you can recycle after Christmas.

"Take wrapping paper for instance; wrapping paper is a difficult material to recycle as it contains thin fibres, is often dyed, laminated and glittery or has tape attached. Therefore, it has to go in your grey bin and not your blue recycling sacks.

"So as you shop for Christmas, why not buy some alternatives this year? You could try brown paper or even fabric; there are some great craft ideas online. Our partners at Recycle Devon and WRAP have even more tips and advice, such as alternative gift ideas and ways to reuse everyday household items."

WRAP says that card plays an important role in preventing damage to our products but did you know that a staggering 300,000 tonnes is used in UK households during the festive season? Enough to wrap around Big Ben almost 260,000 times! Or, if we laid all the card packaging side by side, it would cover the return distance between London and Lapland over 100 times.

To help residents with their planning for Christmas, the Council has produced a handy guide to all things Christmassy - save these links to your phone, so the information is at your fingertips when you need it.

Devon Climate Emergency Update

devon climate emergency











The new Devon Climate Emergency Website is now live. The refreshed website is a great first stop to find out what's going on across Devon, showcasing the work going on in Devon and highlighting useful resources and illustrations displaying a positive net-zero future.

Click here to view this new refreshed website.

devon wildlife trust

The Wildlife Trusts are calling for at least 30% of our land and sea to be connected and protected for nature’s recovery by 2030. 

Making more space for nature to become abundant once again will give our struggling wildlife the chance to recover and also restore beautiful wild places - places that store carbon and help to tackle the climate crisis.

To find out more about what the Devon Wildlife Trust has planned and more about the initiative click here.

This Month's Tips


Environmentally friendly internet search engines

Many of us use a whole variety of different internet search engines for our browsing needs. Internet search engines are often advertiser supported, advertisers, consumer brands and other companies will pay internet search engine providers to appear nearer to the top of your search results or just have adverts placed around the search results.

However, did you know there are some internet search engine providers who use the revenue generated from advertisements for environmental causes? Here are two search engines which you may wish to consider using.

Ecosia is a search engine which uses profits to plant trees. Their website also includes monthly financial reports showing where their money is spent. Better yet, the servers which power their operation run on 100% renewable energy, meaning not only is your internet searching helping plant new trees, your internet searches are having a much less carbon impact.

Ekoru: is a search engine which raises revenue for its partners to remove rubbish from the sea and their servers are powered by hydro-electricity.


Helping you cut down on E-Waste

A slow computer or laptop can be incredibly frustrating at the best of times. Often the quick solution at this time is to consider buying a new computer or laptop. This is sometimes unnecessary though as computers and laptops are quite capable of being brought back to life with some simple management know how.

North London Waste Authority have created some helpful videos to help you cut down on waste and help you move more towards repairing and re-using

Click here for a video about speeding up your computer.

Also, be sure to follow The Restart Project on twitter @RestartProject or even find your nearest repair café in Devon by clicking here.

Events for November


Communities and Climate Action

A panel event due to take place on 9 November 2020 will look at community action surrounding climate change and what more can be done to support it.

This webinar will look to understand what more can be done to support community action and how current best practice might be replicated across the country within different and diverse communities.

To find out how to join and register for this event click here.

carbon trust

Financing a Resilient Future: Target Setting for Climate and Nature

A webinar will be held on 12 November 2020, hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the Carbon Trust.

This session will provide insights on next steps in target setting for climate and nature, how organisations are making ambitious commitments and implications for their businesses.

To find out more and to register click here.

climate emergency uk

Climate & Ecological Emergency Taking Action Together Online Conference

November 13, 2020 marks two years of Climate Emergency Declarations made by Councils in the UK, starting with Bristol. To date 300 UK Local Authorities (75%) have declared a 'Climate (and in some cases Ecological) Emergency, alongside more than 20 universities and a variety of other organisations including health authorities, professional bodies and the UK Parliament.

To commemorate this, Climate Emergency UK will be holding an online conference on November 13, 2020 which will feature over 25 sessions showcasing current best practice and new ideas from across sectors. Engaging communities is at the heart of change and will be a central focus of the Conference showing examples on how to inspire, involve, educate and inform, building truly transformative climate action.

For further details and to register click here.

New Research and Publications

Public love for nature during Covid-19 highlighted by new survey.

nature people

A survey called People and Nature by Natural England reveals that during the lockdown period between April and June 2020, almost 9 in 10 adults in England reported that protection of the environment is important to them personally. Nearly three quarters of adults were concerned about biodiversity loss in England.

Marian Spain, Chief Executive of Natural England, said: ''These new official statistics show just how crucial it is to invest in a green recovery. There’s huge public concern about the well documented threats to wildlife and a clear case to invest in nature-rich spaces close to where people live and work to help the nation recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

''This wealth of evidence leaves no doubt about the importance of connecting with nature is for our physical health and our mental wellbeing. It’s vital that the whole of our society has access to these benefits. If we don’t tackle this we cannot claim to have an equitable green recovery.

''We look forward to working with the government to reverse nature’s decline and ensure that everyone - no matter their background or life experience - can benefit from a better natural environment.''

To read more about the results of this survey click here.

Government publishes its response to the Committee on Climate Change's 2020 progress report

government response to ccc

On 15 October 2020, the Government responded to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) June 2020 progress report.

The CCC's progress report in June called on the country to seize the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address” the urgent challenges of climate change and COVID-19 together.

Among the Government's response to the CCC's progress report was confirmation that a comprehensive net zero strategy will be published ahead of COP26, which is due to be held in Glasgow in November 2021. The report also promises a new biomass strategy to look at how biomass should be sourced to support established renewable energy sources such as wind and solar

To read the response report in full click here.

Future weather extremes likely to break new records - Met Office

met office

The latest addition to the set of UK Climate Projections was published by the Met Office on 22 October 2020.

The projections are created to help users to understand more about how climate change is likely to impact the UK. This latest publication warns that extremes of rainfall and high temperatures are expected to exceed the extreme conditions that we have already experienced in the UK.

Professor Jason Lowe OBE is head of the UKCP programme for the Met Office. He said: “Some of the most severe consequences of climate change will come from an increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events. We know that on average the UK is projected to become hotter and drier in summer, and warmer and wetter in winter – this tells us a lot, but for those assessing climate change risk it’s important to better understand how extreme weather events are likely to change too.”

Looking ahead to 2021, it is expected that additional new UKCP Local projections will focus down to 2.2km resolution, providing a more localised understanding, particularly around the future risks of flash flooding.

To read the story in full, click here.