West Devon Climate Change and Biodiversity Newsletter February 2023

Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency

View web version

February 2023

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 West Devon Borough Council and what things are going on around the borough.

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

Council Updates

Railway Tracks

Levelling Up Fund Success

We're thrilled to announce that we have been successful in a £13.4 million bid to develop a new railway station and integrated transport hub on the eastern edge of Okehampton. 

The West Devon Transport Hub will further build on the fantastic progress of the Dartmoor Line, which reopened with great success in November 2021.

Together with our principal partners Devon County Council, GWR and Network Rail, the Government's Levelling Up Fund award is for a brand new, purpose built station and car park, which will be easily accessible from the nearby A30.

The station's platform will include a passenger lift with greater accessibility for all travellers as well as cycle facilities and electric vehicle charging points to promote active and green travel. These actions will help to meet the Council's climate change objectives to reduce carbon across the borough by 2050.

We are confident this will bring huge benefits to West Devon's economy and particularly to Okehampton and its surrounding area.

Events and Webinars


Climate change and food shocks: what do we know and what we can expect? Wednesday 15 February, 
10 a.m to 11 a.m

The global food system is facing crisis and we have only just begun to see the impacts of climate change. Food security in the UK is under pressure from war in Ukraine, Brexit, soil degradation and a squeeze on the supply of fertiliser. In 2022 there were also unprecedented droughts across the northern hemisphere.

The poorest households are already under stress; rising both food and energy prices threaten a public health emergency.

Even if peace is restored in Ukraine, it is likely that other risks will only worsen. It is time for a new system capable of withstanding short-term shocks and ongoing depletion, both in the UK and overseas.

At this workshop, we will examine the drivers of the UK’s oncoming food security crisis, at home and worldwide. We will consider the range of policy measures that are required, and incumbent policies and practices that must be dismantled.

Those attending will have a chance to explore what part our own sector and role can play in the transition.

Click here to find out more and register.

imperial college

Sustainability Week - Imperial College London

Imperial College London’s Sustainability Week will take place will take place from 20-24 February 2023

multiple online events will take place to hear from  researchers about their work on the transition to zero pollution.

  • Environmental Emergency: the scary story and effective solutions. Tuesday, February 21, 10 a.m
  • Solutions to save a dying planet Wednesday, February 22, 12 p.m

Visit the Sustainable Imperial webpage to find out more information about all the events taking place throughout the week.


Climate Action Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund is inviting applications for the Climate Action Fund, which aims to support people and communities to work together to address climate change.

The Climate Action Fund is a ten-year programme with a total budget of £100m.

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 have 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 £1.5million, for a period of two to five 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.

Focus of fund / the fund aims: 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.

Find out how to apply and more: National Lottery Climate Action Fund

British Ecological Society: Outreach Grants - Deadline 15 March

Grants of up to £2,000 are available to individuals and organisations to organise ecological public engagement events. This includes, but is not limited to researchers, schools, museums, libraries and community groups.

Projects should:

  • increase public understanding of, and engagement with, ecology
  • stimulate discussion about ecology and its implications for society
  • inspire and enthuse people of all ages about the science of ecology, especially those not previously interested
  • develop skills in communicating the science of ecology

All activities must be aimed at a non-academic audience and all projects must provide a clear demonstration of direct interaction with the public.

Click here to find out more and apply.

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.

Decarbonise Devon - A new one-stop-shop to help your organisation save energy, money and carbon

decarbonise devon

Decarbonise Devon is available to support organisations undertake the entire process of developing and delivering a project that saves your organisation energy, reducing costs and carbon emissions.

Decarbonise Devon carries out the whole process for you: planning, project management, financing, finding trustworthy contractors, even verifying your impact.

If upfront costs are an issue, they will even help you access finance. The money you save from reducing your energy bills might even cover the repayments entirely.

Click here to find out more and get in touch.

New Research and Publications

Consumption and Climate Change


Currently, out of the 100 billion tonnes of virgin materials extracted from Earth annually, only 7.2% make it back into the economy in the form of recycled materials. 

Over the past six years, the global economy has extracted and used almost as many materials as over the entire 20th century.

The Circularity Gap Report 2023 outlines these problems and can be read here.

(Image credit: Climate Visuals, Fairphone)

Adoption of renewables picks up


According to the latest report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), nations worldwide are rapidly increasing their production of renewable energy in response to the global climate crisis and Russia's invasion of the Ukraine. It is predicted that the world is set to add as much renewable power in the next five years as it did in the previous 20. Click here to read the full article.

Review of Net Zero Published


On 13 January, an independent review of the government’s approach to delivering its net zero target was published, to ensure that it is pro-business and pro-growth.

This followed a High Court ruling that found the 2021 Net Zero Strategy unlawful.

Within the review, there’s a much more significant acknowledgement of the role local authorities play in the race to net zero. The review points out that the relationship between central and local government is not working as well as it could, and that 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to deliver the Net Zero Strategy rely on local authority involvement. 82% of emissions are within local authorities’ scope of influence.

The review has recommended that tackling climate change should be an integral purpose of local authorities in the future. The review recommends a suite of actions for the Government.

The following actions for local government have been recommended:

  • Government should introduce a statutory duty for local authorities to take account of the UK’s net zero targets, based on a clear framework of local roles and responsibilities.
  • Central government should simplify the net zero funding landscape for all local authorities by the next Spending Review. This should include consolidating different funding pots, reducing competitive bidding processes, giving longer lead-in times where bidding remains and providing funding over the medium rather than the short-term.
  • Government should establish local net zero missions in 2023 for a number of key policy areas, to encourage places to go further and faster.
  • Government should fully back at least one Trailblazer Net Zero city, local authority and community, with the aim for these places to reach net zero by 2030.
  • Central government should provide guidance, reporting mechanisms, and additional capacity and capability support to enable local authorities to better monitor and report their net zero progress.
  • Central government should reform the local planning system and the NPPF now. Have a clearer vision on net zero with the intention to introduce a net zero test, give clarity on when local areas can exceed national standards, give guidance on LAEP, encourage greater use of spatial planning and the creation of Net Zero Neighbourhood plans, and set out a framework for community benefits.
  • Government should undertake a rapid review of the bottlenecks for net zero and energy efficiency projects in the planning system, and ensure that local planning authorities are properly resourced to deliver faster turnaround times

Click here to read the review in full.