South Hams Climate Change and Biodiversity Newsletter May 2023

Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency

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May 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 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 Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Strategy Consultation - 9 May to 30 June

dce square

The Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (DCIoS) Climate Adaptation Strategy is intended to help communities and organisations across the South West to better understand the risks their area might face in future, as climate change increasingly affects the UK.

It will also help them to adapt to these changes, by identifying the parties responsible for ensuring community safety.

This upcoming consultation will allow the public to read the draft Adaptation Strategy documents and provide feedback before the strategy’s launch later in 2023.

The Adaptation Strategy has three sections:

  • The Risk Register, which identifies regional climate impacts and their risks and opportunities
  • The Adaptation Plan, which sets out the conditions for everyone to act on adapting to climate change together
  • The Action Plan, which sets out the priority actions for regional collaboration over the next five years

The consultation will start on Tuesday 9 May and end on Friday 30 June.

Anyone who would like to provide feedback on the Adaptation Strategy will be able to read any of the three versions of the draft at on the Climate Adaptation website.

The Quick Reads slide decks are an ideal starting point for anyone who wants an overview of the strategy; the summary version provides key details about the strategy, while the full version dives into in-depth information on the risks, adaptation options and priorities for the DCIoS region.

Readers can then provide feedback by filling out the questionnaire on the website.

A free webinar will take place on Tuesday 16 May, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. to explain the Adaptation Strategy in detail and will include a Q&A session.

Sign up online here.

Plantlife’s No Mow May – Join the movement and liberate your lawn

no mow may

Plantlife’s #NoMowMay is back and blooming better than ever!

The blossoming grassroots movement towards wilder lawns benefits spring wild plants, as they are able to set seed before they are felled by mower blades.

The increased plant diversity provided by letting a variety of wild plants get a foothold in May is a boon for pollinators, including bees and butterflies, who feed on plants through the summer.

The campaign highlights the importance of garden lawns and green spaces against the backdrop of the alarming decline of grassland habitats. A staggering 97% of wildflower meadows have been eradicated in less than a century and this has moved once widespread plants like Ragged Robin, Field
Scabious and Devil’s-bit Scabious on to the Near Threatened list in England.

More and more people are embracing wilder lawns and the bountiful biodiversity benefits they bring, says Plantlife, as it reveals that 92.4% of those who surveyed lawns last year chose to No Mow May, give the lawnmower a month off and let wild flowers get summer ready.

What about after May?

Plantlife encourages nature lovers to No Mow May, but guidance does not suggest not mowing at all after May.

Plantlife botanists recommend a balanced approach to lawn care throughout the year with collection of the cuttings. This can involve a mixture of shorter zones and taller, more structural areas, which will boost floral diversity and supports other garden wildlife too.

Mowing twice a year will maintain a meadow. Mowing once every 4-6 weeks will maintain a shorter, re-flowering lawn where beauties like Bugle, Self-heal, Red Clover and Lady’s Bedstraw can thrive.


Events and Webinars

Member networking & skillshare meetup: Talking about Community Food Growing

May 12, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Are you interested in community food growing? Would you like to start a community garden? Come and share ideas and experiences

This networking event on community food growing will cover how food growing can contribute to both climate and community resilience, build skills, reduce the carbon footprint of a community and initiate other projects in the area. It'll ask questions like "what are the challenges of growing in a changing climate?"

It's an opportunity to share experiences, ideas, challenges and to find answers to your questions!

Come along to hear from inspiring people and community groups, network and have interactive group discussions.


1. Kenny McCubbin from Shettleston Community Growing Project (SCGP) , Glasgow

2. Nicholas Kelly from the Growers Hub, Broadford and Strath, Isle of Skye

3. Sarah Davidson from Sustainable Cupar, Fife

This will be followed by Q&As + breakout room discussions.

Click here to find out more.


Green Infrastructure: How can we build a sustainable future?

Tuesday 16 May, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Due to our growing population and increased urbanisation, it is estimated that globally we build the equivalent of a city the size of Paris every single week!

At present, the building and construction industry is responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions, of which 70% is from energy consumption and the remainder from construction materials.

The strive for net-zero emissions would require these CO2 emissions to fall by 50% by 2030, according to the IEA. As the energy grid transitions away from fossil fuels, it is evident that the next step in the fight against climate change is tackling the carbon footprint of building materials, both the manufacture and supply of construction materials as well as the construction process itself.

This online event will include a panel discussion with experts in construction from both industry and academia to highlight the top priorities and challenges for decarbonising infrastructure, as well as cutting-edge research in the area.

There will be the opportunity for you to ask the panellists your burning questions and understand the best practices for building a greener world. All staff, students and general public are welcome.


Professor Rachael Rothman - Professor of Sustainable Chemical Engineering, The University of Sheffield


Dr Danielle Densley Tingley - Senior Lecturer in Architectural Engineering, The University of Sheffield

Dr Brant Walkley - Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering, The University of Sheffield

Ricardo Moreira - Managing Director at XCO2, a company that focuses on sustainable infrastructure

Click here to register.

creatives for climate

The Psychology of Climate Inaction - online webinar hosted by Creatives for Climate - 18 May, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Creatives for Climate is a non-profit global network of industry professionals radically collaborating to drive climate action, and this conversation turns to experts tackling the psychology of climate action in different ways.

The webinar will explore:

  • How you can show up as a leader to truly engage others on this topic
  • How to acknowledge the complex emotions people have when considering a sustainable behaviour change.

Register here.


Net Zero Challenge for Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks Webinar

Monday, 22 May, 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The National Park Authorities have recently had consumption-based carbon footprint reports completed for the national parks, taking into account emissions from the goods and services produced and consumed within Exmoor and Dartmoor. 

These reports provide an important evidence base and focus for climate change actions in the national parks.

This webinar launches the carbon footprints and includes topical presentations from Professor Mike Berners-Lee and Dmitry Yumashev (Small World Consulting)Professor Sir Dieter Helm (Professor of Economic Policy at University of Oxford) and Hannah Jones (Farm Carbon Toolkit) exploring how our national parks can respond to the climate emergency.

Click here to register.

met office

Met Office webinar: Co-benefits of the climate action imperative.
Wednesday 24 May, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

In this webinar, they will discuss the co-benefits of climate action such as those on health and wellbeing.

They will consider the cost benefit of taking action as well as the fact that many co-benefits will be realised more quickly than the impact on our changing climate.

In addition to science and policy perspectives, you will also hear about how co-benefits are already being realised in some communities. They will be joined by speakers from the University of Leeds, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, and Belfast City Council.

Register online here.

energy champ

Become a “Community Energy Champion”

Would You Like To Support Your Friends, Neighbours, Transition Street Group & Community To Reduce Their Energy Bills & Reduce Energy Waste?

Wednesday 24 May and Tuesday 30 May from 1 p.m. to 4.30 p.m, at the REconomy Centre, Totnes.

A short course is being provided to train ten local people in the TQ9 area in the basic skills and knowledge that will enable them to help their friends & local community to reduce their energy costs and waste.

The course will be run over two 3½ hour training sessions. This training is being provided for FREE but must be booked in advance.

The course is designed to help our communities to:

  1. Lower energy bills
  2. Improve energy security
  3. Lower their carbon footprint
  4. Transition to renewable energy & low carbon heating when possible

If you are interested in participating in the training, you can find out more & book your place online here.


Wild about Devon: Community Wildlife Grant Scheme 2023. Deadline December 2023

The Community Wildlife Grant Scheme supports communities to develop projects and activities that seek to make a real difference for wildlife in Devon.

This could include restoring neglected habitats such as grassland or woodland, creating new wildlife areas such as ponds and wildflower meadows or improving the management of parks and green spaces in a way that benefits wildlife.

All types of community groups with a wildlife focus or wildlife project, which are based in Devon (including Torbay) can apply for this grant. This includes community wildlife groups, town/parish councils, schools and multi-academy trusts.

The maximum grant is £500, but the aim is to support more communities with smaller amounts of around £100 or less. Funds can be used for advice, equipment and other resources. Projects should have a long-term benefit for wildlife in Devon.

The Community Wildlife Grant Scheme has been developed by the Devon Local Nature Partnership and is financed by the Devon Environment Foundation, Devon Communities Together and Devon County Council.

Click here to find out more.

GWR Customer and Community Improvement Fund. Deadline 25 May

Great Western Railway (GWR) is inviting applications for grants in 2023/24 from its Customer and Community Improvement Fund.

The scheme will support projects that benefit customers, increase rail travel, encourage carbon reduction, connect communities, people and places, support economic growth, promote inclusion and diversity, and educational programmes that support careers in rail or increase awareness and experience of public transport and rail safety.

The maximum grant is £75,000, but GWR is particularly keen to support small and medium projects to ensure that the funding is spread fairly across the network area. There must be a link to the railway in every project.

Applications will be accepted from community and voluntary groups, local authorities, places of study and not-for-profit organisations that are working across the GWR network.

Schools, colleges and universities can apply for funding to support projects working in education that can be delivered until the end of the academic year (July 2024).

Click here to find out more.

Rewilding Innovation Fund. Deadline 31 May

Rewilding Britain is offering grants of up to £15,000 to help remove barriers to rewilding projects within Britain.

The Rewilding Innovation Fund will support rewilding projects on land and at sea, at a scale of more than 40 hectares, that adhere to Rewilding Britain’s rewilding principles.

The fund aims to support works that could potentially unlock further funding or move your project up the rewilding scale. Examples of potential applications include: business plans and strategies, community engagement activities and co-design, feasibility studies, technology and innovation.

Funds are awarded to projects with potential for the highest impact for people and nature.

Applications will be accepted from members of the Rewilding Network: if you aren’t a Rewilding Network member but would like to be considered, please join before applying.

Membership is open to community, private and public landowners and managers of rewilding areas on the land and sea.

Note that you must be rewilding at scale – that is more than 40 hectares of land (or any size of marine project). This can be an individual landholding or a cluster of landholdings.

If you’re rewilding at a smaller scale than this, you are strongly encouraged to connect with others to form a local group, network or cluster to work up a project for application.

Click here to find out more.

Hubbub Community Fridge Food Hub Fund - 31 May

Community Fridge groups can now apply for the Hubbub Community Fridge Food Hub Fund to help local residents learn about sustainable, affordable and healthy living.

Up to 50 groups will get £7,000 to fund a range of activities. See the web page for more details.

Applications close on Wednesday 31 May.

Click here to find out more and apply.

Ongoing resources, help and tools

Energy Saving Devon - supporting the upgrading of Devon’s homes. Energy Saving Devon is delivered by Cosy Devon, a partnership between all the local authorities in Devon, their strategic partners and local community energy organisations.

It is administered by Devon County Council. Energy Saving Devon is your one stop shop for all things retrofit in Devon. You can access help, resources and create your own refurbishment plan with its plan builder tool. Click here for more information.

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) charge points. Click here to find out more and apply.

South Hams Town and Parish Guide to Net Zero -  While parish and town councils may have more limited resources than the district 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.

Research and Publications

Government emissions slashed to deliver millions to public purse


The annual State of the Estate report has been published which has show how emissions reductions and financial savings go hand in hand.

  • Overall emissions from the government down 35% since 2017
  • £122 million saved through reductions in energy consumption of government buildings

A major efficiency drive has seen emissions from the government fall by 35% in less than five years.

New figures, released today in the government’s annual State of the Estate Report, show that overall emissions from the government have fallen by 35% compared to 2017-18 levels, with emissions from buildings down by 10%.

The fall in energy consumption is estimated to have saved the taxpayer £122 million.

Other efficiency savings released today include:

  • Water consumption is down by 10% compared to 2017-18, saving the taxpayer £7.2 million
  • Departments sent fewer than 1% of waste to landfill in 2021-22, easily surpassing the target of 5%. Overall 92% of waste within government is recycled, exceeding the 70% target
  • Government has reduced its paper consumption by 61%

Droughts developing more rapidly says global study

farm drought

A new paper – A global transition to flash drought under climate change – has been produced by an international collaboration featuring scientists from China, the UK and the US. 

The international study identifies flash droughts – which intensify in a matter of weeks – have become more frequent since the late 1950s over 74% of the world’s 33 global regions, especially those over North and East Asia, the Sahara and Europe.

Previously there had been no consensus on whether flash drought were occurring more because slower droughts were occurring less.

The study has highlighted that the transition is associated by changes in evapotranspiration, such as radiation, air temperature, humidity and wind speed and rainfall decreases caused by climate change. 

Although the paper is behind a paywall, you can access a summary abstract here. You can also read the Met Office Summary here.

Image credit: Lee R. DeHaan / Climate Visuals

Why is there image credit in this edition?

All too often, the climate change imagery we see is ineffective at driving change – it may be aesthetically pleasing and illustrative but not salient or emotionally impactful. In an effort to combat this, we will be using imagery from Climate Visuals where appropriate.

Climate Visuals, is a project by Climate Outreach,  they have run major projects on visualising climate change, representing indigenous people in images, and promoting diversity in outdoor photography. Climate Visuals images were prominently displayed at COP26 in Glasgow.

All images available on the Climate Visuals website are captioned with an explanation of how they fit with the seven Climate Visuals principles, and why they work. Each image is linked to its original source and many are available to license from third party sites or download for free under Creative Commons licenses for use in non-profit blogs and articles such as this