West Devon Climate Change and Biodiversity Newsletter March 2023

Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency

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March 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.

£2 bus fare cap to be extended and bus services protected with new funding


On 17 February 2023 the Government confirmed £80 million from 1 April to 30 June 2023, this funding will extend the bus fare cap for 3 months from 1 April to 30 June 2023. To read more click here.

Miles Without Stiles Trail, Bellever Forest

Dartmoor National Park have released a video showcasing the Miles without Stiles trail at Bellever Forest. Miles Without Stiles are stile-free routes, meaning that they are suitable for those with limited mobility. These routes are suitable for a wide range of users including those in all -terrain powered mobility scooters and families with younger children.

Click here to view.


National Lottery: Awards for All

Grants up to £10,000 are available to support community organisations with projects and activities in their local area.

You can apply for funding to deliver a new or existing activity or to support your organisation to change and adapt to new and future challenges.

'Awards for All' funding is for projects and organisations which aim to:

  • Build strong relationships in and across communities
  • Improve the places and spaces that matter to communities
  • Help more people to reach their potential, by supporting them at the earliest possible stage
  • Support people, communities and organisations that are facing increased demands and challenges as a direct result of the cost-of-living crisis.

You can also apply for a grant to help your community to celebrate national events including the Coronation of His Majesty The King, The Eurovision Song Contest and the 75th anniversary of Windrush.

Applications are accepted from constituted voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations and statutory bodies such as local authorities and community councils.

Note: funding is not usually available to schools except where the main focus of the project is to benefit the wider community.

Grants of between £300 and £10,000 are available for up to one year.

Focus of fund/fund aims: The National Lottery Community Fund small grants scheme which provides a simple application process for community organisations seeking funding up to £10,000

Application deadline: Apply at any time.

Click here to apply and find out more.

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

Sources of funding for tree planting in Devon

At the time of publication of 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.

Ongoing resources, help and tools

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. Click here to find out more and get in touch.

Workplace Charging Scheme - The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme that provides eligible applicants with support towards the upfront costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints. Click here to find out more and apply

Boiler Upgrade Scheme - Through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, you could get a grant up to £6000 to cover part of the cost of replacing fossil fuel heating systems with a heat pump or biomass boiler. Click here to find out more.

West Devon Town and Parish Guide to Net Zero - Whilst Parish and Town Councils may have more limited resources than the Borough or County Authority, Parish and Town Councils can still be a very important force for good in their local areas to address the climate and ecological emergency. We have curated a guide to get you started and provide tips here.

Transition Tavistock Events


Transition Tavistock Sustainability Book Group - 28 March 7.30 p.m. (advance booking required)

A chance to reflect on books by some of the inspirational writers with ideas on how to live sustainably and respond well to the climate and nature crises. They meet online, through Zoom. No cost but please register in advance via Eventbrite

March's book is The Value of a Whale by Adrienne Buller. 

Adrienne Buller, Director of Research at Common Wealth, examines the fatal biases shaping the response of governing institutions to climate and environmental breakdown, challenging the ‘solutions’ being proposed. Both honest and optimistic, the book asks us – in the face of crisis – what we really value.

Adrienne discusses the book on this podcast.

BookStop in Tavistock offer a 10% discount if you let them know you are buying it in association with this book group.

Click here to register.

Green Drinks - 14 March 7.30 p.m to 9.30 p.m

Green Drinks is a global phenomenon which provides a chance for like-minded people who are concerned for our environment and sustainability, to meet up informally once a month, for a chat.

Transition Tavistock hosts the Tavistock Green Drinks on the second Tuesday every month. Drop in between 7.30 p.m. - 9.30 p.m.

Always a great evening for a relaxed discussion about life, the universe and everything. Everyone is welcome, so just turn up. We look forward to seeing you there!

To find out the latest meeting location and to find out more, click here.

Garden Rewilding

white clover

As the temperatures begin to rise, March is an ideal time to think about rewilding your garden. Rewilding is the process of restoring an area of land to its natural state and creating a thriving ecosystem to support animals, insects and birds; it can even exist with little ongoing intervention, and look great in the process! This process often involves planting native species and reducing mowing to encourage wildlife to make themselves at home. By rewilding your garden, you can create a natural habitat that enhances local biodiversity, increases pollination, and provides food and shelter for wildlife. Here are some tips to get started!

1. Look at Your Space

The first step is to take a good look at the space you have available. Consider the size of your garden, the amount of sunlight it receives, where it receives sunlight, and the type of soil you have. This will help you to determine what kind of plants will thrive in your space and where you'd like to re-wild. Also consider what you use your garden for, if you use some of it for play/recreation, are there any parts which are unused? even small pockets of wild spaces can benefit biodiversity.

2. Plant Native Species

One of the key components of rewilding a garden is choosing native plants, this is important as you want the plant life to be resilient to local climate condition. Plants adapted for UK climate and soils are better able to withstand local pests and diseases, and are important food sources for our own local wildlife. 'Bee bombs' and UK wildflower seed mixes are a good place to start.

3. Reduce Lawn Mowing

Lawns require a lot of maintenance and water and provide little habitat for wildlife. By reducing the amount of lawn you have, other plants will be given time to grow, such as clover and daisies. If your lawn provides a function for you, consider leaving some areas of your garden unmowed, or planting wildflowers or native grasses in its place.

4. Encourage Wildlife

Finally, one of the most rewarding aspects of rewilding a garden is attracting and supporting local wildlife. You can do this by providing food, water, and shelter. Consider putting out bird feeders or nesting boxes, installing a bird bath or pond, and planting shrubs and trees that provide habitat for birds, insects, and other small animals.

Rewilding a garden is a great way to support local biodiversity and create a beautiful, natural space. It's also a great way to connect with nature and create a beautiful, sustainable space that you can enjoy for years to come.

New Research and Publications


Study reveals links between UK air pollution and mental ill-health

Researchers in the United Kingdom and China followed 389,185 adults in the U.K. for roughly 11 years and found long-term exposure to multiple air pollutants was associated with a greater risk of depression and anxiety.

The study was published on 1 February has shown that fine particulate matter, commonly emitted by vehicles, power plants, construction and industrial work can have long term implications on health outside of physical parameters including cardiovascular and respiratory infections and adds to a growing body of evidence which demonstrates impacts on brain health.