South Hams Climate Change and Biodiversity Newsletter November 2023

Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency

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November 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.

Thermal Imaging Camera Hire Service Launching Monday 6 November 

Thermal IR Camera

As part of our commitment to help reduce carbon emissions in our area and help people improve the energy efficiencies of their homes, we have four thermal imaging cameras available for use by town and parish councils, or local communities on a free to borrow basis.

Following a successful trial undertaken by Bigbury Net Zero over the winter of 2022/2023, which was supported through our Climate Engagement Fund, we have been using the result to develop a thermal imaging camera hire scheme.

Applications to hire one can be made by Town and Parish Councils or organised community groups only.

Cameras are available to borrow for up to two weeks. It's expected that applicants will use the cameras with local residents to survey several homes within the hire period.

Click here to access our hire service page.

Why use one?

Carbon emissions and climate change implications:

Thermal images will show up where homes would benefit from improved insulation and draught proofing.

Homes account for 22% of the UK's carbon emissions. There needs to be an urgent application of energy efficiency improvements if we are going to hit the carbon reduction targets necessary to stop runaway climate breakdown.

Our aim is that using the thermal imaging cameras will help stimulate action for homeowners to improve their energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Reducing heat loss and energy consumption:

Once you have identified areas of heat loss within your property, there are several ways that could help you reduce energy consumption and heat loss.

These include:

  • Improving the insulation of the property, particularly roof or wall insulation
  • Reducing air leakage, for example around doors, windows, or letterboxes

What should you do with the results?

We recommend that where the camera identifies issues, a professional retrofit advisor is contacted to ensure the correct work is suggested to remedy problems in your home.

The first point of contact should be Energy Saving Devon. 

This service is operated by Devon County Council and supported by Devon councils. Their community retrofit advice services is the one stop shop for all things retrofit in Devon. From here you can:

  • Create a free home upgrade plan
  • Get advice through an advice line
  • Apply for home energy grants
  • Find reputable installers

Events and Webinars

energy wise

Energy Wise is holding their "Energy Wise Show" in Totnes on Saturday, 11 November. 

Visit Totnes Civic Hall to discover ways to reduce your energy bills, energy waste and carbon footprint.

Learn about renewable energy, low carbon heating, DIY home insulation and the Energy Local Totnes Club.

Entry is free, with tea and coffee available.

The event runs from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit the Energy Wise website to find out more.

energy fair

Kingsbridge Energy Fair

Saturday 18 November - 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Harbour House Gallery, Kingsbridge

Are you curious about renewable energy?

Are you thinking about installing low carbon heating solutions in your home?

Are you wondering how much it will cost, how much you'll save and if there are any loans or grants available to you?

The Kingsbridge Energy Fair is your opportunity to find out about all of the above.

You can meet local installers, ask questions, learn about the range of options out there and chat to local residents with recent experience of domestic renewable energy solutions.

There will be solar panel and heat pump experts, home energy efficiency advisors, information about grants and lending, thermal imaging cameras and information about how you can borrow them for your home, retrofit advisors and creative and interactive activities for all ages.

Stallholders / Advisors on the day:

Mole Energy - Renewables Installer

Eco Trades - Renewables Installer

Lendology - Lending for Renewables

South Dartmoor Community Energy - Home Energy Efficiency Advice

Retrofit Advisors


Seadream Education

Practical Shared Experiences and Conversation

Talks on installation options


Thermal Imaging Cameras

Art and creative zone

People Powered Smoothie Bike!

food waste

What next for food and farming at UNFCCC COP?

Tuesday 14 November, 11 a.m to 12 p.m

Get tickets online by clicking here

Our food system accounts for around a third of all global emissions.

So why has it hardly been talked about at previous COPs? 

The UN’s climate change conference brings together world leaders every year to try to bash out a deal to cut emissions and halt climate change. But it’s so far been famously silent on food and farming.

This seems absurd, even to a casual observer, and even more so when one considers the potential of food system landscapes to sequester carbon and lock it away. What on earth is going on then, and will this ever change?

COP veteran, Prof Tim Benton (University of Leeds, Chatham House, former UK Food Security Champion, and co-lead of AFN Network+), will lead attendees through this conundrum.

Tim has been to many COPs, worked with many governments on food system transformation, is regularly consulted by the UK’s Climate Change Committee, as well as being an author for the IPCC's Special Report on Land, Food and Climate.

Tim will lift the lid on what really happens at COP, where food and farming sit in it all, how this might change in the future, and his hopes for this year’s COP28 in Dubai.


Breaking out of business-as-usual: Alternative paths for UK agri-food

Friday 24 November, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Get your tickets online here

‘Business-as-usual’ is dead. The world order – economically, politically, environmentally and socially – is being turned on its head and redrawn.

Why then, when thinking about transforming our food system, do we tend to assume the world will just trundle on as it has before, leaving the UK free to carefully redesign its domestic production, supply chains and landscapes – rather than be forced to react to the world around it, at least in part? 

Prof Neil Ward, co-lead of AFN Network+ and professor of rural and regional development at the University of East Anglia, will paint a picture of four possible futures developed by AFN, that suggest how radically different the world might be in 2050.

Based on these, he’ll go deeper into how the UK agri-food system might respond, how net zero could be aspired to under each, and what research gaps emerge.


South Hams UK Shared Prosperity Fund Grants

Further to the awarding of our UKSPF funding, the Council has also been able to attract over £800,000 of Rural England Prosperity Funding. This is capital funding which will be used to further support our businesses and communities.

Grants are available for the following;

Click on each of the four links above to find out more about each category. Eligibility criteria varies between grants, although they are broadly similar. Downloadable “Guidance for Applicants” documents are at the foot of each page, together with a link to the online application form.

If you would like to discuss any particular projects please contact and we will put you in touch with the right people.

South West Water Community Grants

Neighbourhood Fund

A £100,000 pot is available to help fund community groups that benefit people and the environment. Schools, registered charities, other not-for-profit organisations, CICs and community groups can apply for up to £2,000 to help with the costs of projects that benefit the community.

SWW is looking for projects that protect nature and the environment, improve community wellbeing, provide opportunities for people to learn, bring people together and maintain community facilities.

Water-Saving Community Fund

There is £75,000 available for projects that involve people with water conservation, especially finding new inspiring ways to save water and benefit the community.

Schools, registered charities, constituted not-for-profit organisations and CICs can apply for grants over £1,000. For grants under £1,000, applications from community groups are also accepted.

For both schemes the grants can be used to fund:

  • equipment hire and purchase
  • building materials
  • skills and training
  • staff time for work on the project
  • professional fees

Click here to find out more.

Connected Warmth

The National Grid is providing funding to improve the energy efficiency of homes, with a focus on insulation.

This funding is independent to the Council. More information can be found online here.

Eligibility criteria:

Branching Out Fund - Deadline of 3 December

The Tree Council grants programme, Branching Out, is now open for applications from organisations seeking to establish trees, hedgerows and orchards in the 2023/24 planting season.

You can apply for grants between £250 and £2,500. Projects with strong community involvement will be looked on favourably.

Projects over £500 will be expected to be include different types of planting, and take broader environmental considerations into account.

Schools, colleges, community groups, care homes, parish and town councils, tree warden networks, community interest companies and small registered charities are all eligible to apply for funding.

Groups must have a bank account registered in the name of the applicant organisation, into which the grant can be paid.

Early applications are encouraged, both to increase the chances of a grant being awarded and to ensure that planting can take place as early as possible in the tree planting season so that the trees have the best chance of establishing.

Click here to apply and find out more.

Grants for Good

Every three months, the Matthew Good Foundation shares £15,000 between five shortlisted projects that have a positive impact on communities, people or the environment and has an average income of less than £50,000 in the last 12 months.

Charities and projects are welcome to apply all year round, and applications will be considered in the next funding round. Funding is awarded every three months, in April, July, October and January, with an application deadline of the 15th of the month before. 

Click here to apply and find out more

Ongoing resources, help and tools

AllotMe - Find or host an allotment - This helpful resource lets you list your space to rent out your garden to a local "green finger" or find an allotment plot near you to grow your own food. Think of it as Airbnb for gardens!

Click here for more information.

Energy Saving Devon - This initiative supports the upgrading of Devon’s homes. Energy Saving Devon is delivered by Cosy Devon, a partnership between all of Devon's local authorities, 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.

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

New Research and Publications

Biochar can remove 6% of global emissions with waste


A new report published in the Biochar Journal has outlined the latest research on Biochar.

Biochar is made up of various waste that would usually be sent to landfill, where it would end up emitting carbon.

To create Biochar, material such as trimmings, animal waste and food waste is converted using high-temperature under reduced oxygen conditions. The material has been shown to lock carbon into the ground for up to 1,000 years, while also improving soil health and replenishing degraded land.

To read the research, click here.

Consultation launched to ban wet wipes containing plastic


A consultation on banning wet wipes containing plastic across the UK has been launched by the Government, under plans to tackle plastic pollution and clean up our waterways 

Wet wipes containing plastic break down into microplastics over time, which can be harmful to the environment and human health.

Banning wet wipes containing plastic would help alleviate this issue, as well as reducing the volume of microplastics entering wastewater treatment plants when wrongly flushed. 

The consultation will run until 25 November. Click here to give your views.