South Hams Climate Change and Biodiversity Newsletter

Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency

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October 2022

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 and what things are going on around the District.

It will tell you 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, contact our Climate Change Specialist by email here

The Share Shed is Expanding Thanks to South Hams District Council

share shed

The Share Shed, the world's first travelling library of things, will start running a weekly service to Ivybridge and Kingsbridge this Autumn, thanks to a grant from South Hams District Council's Climate Infrastructure Fund.

With over 350 useful items, from drills, projector, dehydrators and garden tools to gazebos, tents, carpet cleaners, dehumidifiers, hedge trimmers and even a chocolate fountain, the Share Shed helps people to borrow things they only need occasionally at a low cost.

Members join for a donation and can reserve items online or on the day. Borrowing items saves them money and space, and reduces waste.  

Mirella Ferraz, NOW's Project Manager, said: "We're really excited to be extending our services and making it convenient for even more people to borrow things instead of buying them. This is great for the pocket, for the community and for the planet, especially now when so many are struggling with the increase of the cost of living."

The Share Shed, a project of the Network of Wellbeing  went mobile in 2020. The converted van is a very efficient 'shed on wheels', currently offering a weekly service in Totnes (including Bridgetown and Dartington), Buckfastleigh, Ashburton and South Brent. Over 1,700 people have used the service, saving up to 3,200 purchases, worth over £200,000.  

Cllr Tom Holway, South Hams District Council's Executive Member for Climate Change and Biodiversity, said: "I think this is a fantastic service. Sharing household equipment will help to reduce the amount of materials used and the carbon emissions generated when producing the vast quantities of household equipment that we buy. Much of this equipment is only ever used once a year and then put on a shelf or in a shed. I also think that this service could not have started at a better time, for as well as helping the environment, it gives people access to equipment without them having to buy it, which is just what people need right now because the cost of everything is going up at an alarming rate."

Besides the expansion to Ivybridge and Kingsbridge, the South Hams District Council grant will also enable the Share Shed to offer a range of sharing and repairing events, as well as pop-up sales of pre-loved tools and appliances (the next Pop-Up Sale will be on 29 September, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Totnes Market Square). This will help local people save money while reducing pollution and waste, plus is a wonderful way for the local community to connect with each other. 

Devon Carbon Plan Launched

dce square

The Devon Climate Emergency project is excited to announce that the finalised version of the Devon Carbon Plan was launched on Tuesday 27th September, after extensive collaboration with the Net Zero Task Force and the public.

The Devon Carbon Plan is the roadmap for how Devon will reach net-zero emissions by 2050 (at the latest). It has been built on detailed, ongoing assessments of Devon’s greenhouse gas emissions. Its publication follows a summer which was the joint hottest on record, where the impact of human-induced climate change has never been more apparent. The Plan’s launch marks the beginning of a new phase of action - it is crucial that everyone in Devon now works to implement the Plan.

Broadly speaking, emissions in Devon can be divided into five key sectors: economy and resources; energy supply; food, land and sea; transport; and the built environment. The Devon Carbon Plan outlines actions for how each of these sectors can reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and how people at every level can contribute - including individuals, communities, organisations and local policy makers.

You can find the Devon Carbon Plan on the Devon Climate Emergency website, including a Quick Read version and a Summary version. You can also follow Devon Climate Emergency on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for ongoing updates about the Devon Carbon Plan, and the next steps for the Devon Climate Emergency project.

Ideas Welcomed on How to Keep the Buzz in Totnes!

ten meadow

After a fruitful last twelve months, creating and enhancing meadow sites in and around Totnes, the Ten Meadows project enters its second year with an appeal to the public for suggestions for areas that could be improved to benefit wildflowers and insect pollinators.

Co-ordinated by local social enterprise ParkLife South West, and supported by the town, district and county councils, the Ten Meadows project aims to provide a network of at least ten wildflower sites in the Totnes area over a three-year period. 

The first year of the project included wildflower improvement projects at Longmarsh, the Arboretum, the cemetery and at Leechwell Garden. Other parks and greenspaces could also benefit from a different approach, by either sowing new wildflower and wild grass mixes, or by changing the management of the existing grassland area by cutting less frequently or at different times. 

Once a more common and colourful feature in our landscape, Britain has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s. Those that remain are often small and fragmented, so it is vitality important than they are protected, and new meadow areas created. This is the aim in Totnes.

ParkLife SW Director, Keith Rennells said: "Wildflower grassland can contain more than 150 different plants, providing food and shelter for an array of insects, from bees and beetles to grasshoppers and butterflies. These, in turn, support many small animals and birds. However, the loss of good wildlife habitat means it is more difficult for species to move around the landscape. Connecting old meadows to new habitats is a vital part of the work."

There are two ways people can get involved. Firstly, ParkLife South West is co-ordinating a series of community environmental volunteering projects through the autumn and winter months, with activities at Longmarsh, the Arboretum and in other green spaces in Totnes. 

Secondly, ParkLife is inviting suggestions from the community for meadow creation or enhancement projects in Totnes. Whilst they might not all come to fruition, it would be good to gather ideas from local people who use the parks and green spaces on a daily basis.

Cllr Tom Holway, South Hams District Council's Executive Member for Climate Change and Biodiversity, said:  "Many of the green spaces dotted around the town are owned and managed by the District Council, and we are supporting the Ten Meadows project as part of our commitment to the Council's Climate Change and Biodiversity Plan. 

"Creating these wildflower meadows in the urban environment provide clear benefits to wildlife, but also inject welcome colour and interest into our sites, and perhaps will encourage our residents to try creating their own flowery pockets at the garden scale."

If you would like to join a ParkLife volunteer project, or have ideas for new wildflower meadow areas, contact or via Facebook or Instagram @parklifesw

Take Part

peoples plan for nature

Join the UK’s biggest conversation about the future of nature and make your voice heard.

The People's Plan for Nature is encouraging everyone to take part in the biggest ever conversation about nature. 

Your suggestions are the first stage in creating the People’s Plan for Nature. They will be collected and shared during the People’s Assembly for Nature in November. The final result will be a plan for action and change too big for anyone to ignore. 

The People’s Plan for Nature is a UK-wide initiative powered by WWF, the National Trust and the RSPB. It is a unique, people-led collaboration to make our nature something we can all be proud of.

To take part, click here.


Review of Net Zero: Call for evidence - closes 27 October 2022

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Secretary of State has commissioned an independent review of the government’s approach to delivering its net zero target.

Alongside the call for evidence, this will include a range of themed roundtables with businesses, industry, communities, local government and non-governmental groups to collect a broad range of views on the transition to net zero. We will also engage on an individual level with a variety of leaders in the net zero space.

The aim of the call for evidence is to provide an open channel to the general public to give their views on the transition, in particular giving a voice to the public and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). To take part in the consultation click here. Some of the Government's questions are included below.

Overarching questions

  • How does net zero enable us to meet our economic growth target of 2.5% a year?
  • What challenges and obstacles have you identified to decarbonisation?
  • What opportunities are there for new/amended measures to stimulate or facilitate the transition to net zero in a way that is pro-growth and/or pro-business?
  • What more could government do to support businesses, consumers and other actors to decarbonise?
  • Where and in what areas of policy focus could net zero be achieved in a more economically efficient manner?
  • How should we balance our priorities to maintaining energy security with our commitments to delivering net zero by 2050?
  • What export opportunities does the transition to net zero present for the UK economy or UK businesses?

Questions for the public

  • Have you or are you planning to take personal action to reduce your carbon emissions (for example through how you travel, what you buy, how you heat your home)? If so, how?
  • Do you face any barriers to doing this? What are they?
  • What would help you to make greener choices?
  • What is working well about the measures being put in place to reach net zero?
  • What is not working well about the measures being put in place to reach net zero?
  • Do you have any further comments on how efforts to tackle climate change are affecting you?

Questions for local government, communities and other organisations delivering net zero locally

  • What are the biggest barriers you face in decarbonising / enabling your communities and areas to decarbonise?
  • What has worked well? Please share examples of any successful place-based net zero projects.
  • How does the planning system affect your efforts to decarbonise?
  • How can the design of net zero policies, programmes, and funding schemes be improved to make it easier to deliver in your area?
  • Are there any other implications of net zero or specific decarbonisation projects for your area that the Review should consider?

power allotments

Power Allotments - Can you Help?

Power Allotments is a project is run in partnership between Regen and the Devon Energy Collective and supported by Team Devon’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Business Prospectus Funding.

Its aims are to help communities identify and submit potential sites for renewable energy projects across Devon based on their local knowledge.

The aim is look into these sites in more detail to find the very best options and then support communities to develop them into community owned renewable energy projects that provide a local income, clean energy and improve local biodiversity!

Anyone across Devon can visit their website to learn more and access our online toolkit which can help you identify and submit potential sites near you.

energy event

Funding and Help

Climate Action Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund is inviting applications for funding from the Climate Action Fund which aims to support people and communities to work together to address climate change. The Climate Action Fund is a 10-year programme with a total budget of £100million.

The funding is for community-led partnerships led by voluntary or community organisations, charities, schools or not-for-profit companies. It is expected to support a mix of different places, communities, themes and initiatives, across the UK.

The fund is now open for funding applications for projects that:

  • show how creating a deeper connection with nature will lead to changing people’s behaviours and greater care for the environment
  • show how by bringing nature back into the places we live and work, we can help communities to reduce or adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Projects can apply for up to £1.5 million for a period of 2 to 5 years. Most of the funding is expected to go to projects that request between £300,000 and £500,000. If your project idea is still in development, you may request a grant from £50,000 up to £150,000 for a period of 12 to 18 months.

You can attend a virtual event about this funding.

They holding online events on;

  • 13 October 2022 – 2-3 p.m.
  • 25 October 2022 – 2-3 p.m.
  • 25 October 2022 – 5-6 p.m.
  • 10 November 2022 – 2-3 p.m.

To register for one of these events, contact them by email at

Focus of fund/fund aims:

For projects that use nature to encourage more community-led climate action and bring other important social and economic benefits.

Application deadline:

Applications may be submitted at any time.

Fund description can be found here.

Sources of funding for tree planting in Devon

As of publishing this newsletter, there are over 20 different sources of funding for tree planting in Devon.

The Devon Local Nature Partnership manage a great list of funding sources.

New Research and Publications

Perovskite solar cell with copper electrode hits 20.1% efficiency


Chinese researchers have developed a new solar cell which has have passed the 30 per cent efficiency barrier with silicon solar cells for the first time by combining them perovskite.

In 2017, materials science professor Z. Valy Vardeny from the University of Utah said of perovskite that: “It’s unbelievable, a miracle material.”

The result of the study were published in a research article last month, which can be found here.

Large Blue Butterflies Thrive in the South West


According to the Natural England and the Royal Entomological Society, the Large Blue Butterfly has enjoyed its best summer for 150 years in Britain thanks to targeted restoration work.

South-west England now supports the world’s greatest known concentration of Large Blues, which are listed as one of Europe’s most endangered insect species.

To read the case study about this, click here.

Despite this success story however, this year's Big Butterfly Count saw the lowest number of sightings recorded in the 13 years since the project began.

Dr Richard Fox, the head of science at the organisation, has called for more to be done to protect and restore butterfly habitats.

"The sun could shine for days on end, but we still won't see more butterflies unless there is habitat for them to thrive in," he said.

To read the Butterfly Count outcomes, click here.