South Hams Climate Change and Biodiversity Newsletter December 2023

Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency

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December 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.

Council Updates

electric car charging

EV Strategy adopted by South Hams District Council

The number of car charging points in South Hams could be set to increase as part of a wider strategy on electric vehicles.

The Council has laid out its vision for the next two years on how to improve vehicle charging opportunities for residents and visitors alike, to encourage wider use of electric vehicles across the area.

Doing this will hopefully improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions, and improve infrastructure for people wanting to buy electric vehicles.

We want to play our part in increasing the number of publicly available charging points in the South Hams, working with partners like Devon County Council but also to use skills in house to deliver charging infrastructure ourselves.

We also want to lead by example – so we’re converting our fleet of “light” vehicles (cars, vans and grounds maintenance equipment) to electric. We’re also going to support the implementation of EV car clubs, e-bikes and look to decarbonise our marine vessels.

Click here to view the final strategy.

Devon Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Plan Published


The Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (DCIoS) Climate Adaptation Strategy has now been published and will help to ensure that the region can make the changes needed to cope with the worst effects of climate change.  

Its publication comes after a consultation earlier this year, in which 76% of respondents expressed concern about climate change and 69% said they have felt the effects of climate change already.   

Climate change will continue to impact Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Critical infrastructure, community assets like schools and hospitals, homes, the environment, businesses and public services are all sensitive to weather and climate.

Taking a proactive approach to adapt to climate change will result in many benefits, creating a fairer, healthier, more resilient and prosperous society now and into the future.

The Adaptation Strategy has been developed by the DCIoS Climate Impacts Group - a partnership of strategic organisations, including local authorities, that is chaired by the Environment Agency - with the assistance of RSK, an engineering and environmental consultancy.

Read the Strategy, learn about how climate change will impact the region, and see resources for individuals, communities, organisations and local policy makers at

End of Year Summary

It's been a busy year here at South Hams District Council.

Over the past year we have seen an increase in our activity around climate change and biodiversity.

In 2023 we have:

  • Developed and adopted an electric vehicle strategy
  • Launched a thermal imaging camera hire scheme
  • Kicked off numerous projects funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). Projects are related to active travel, business decarbonisation, regenerative farming, agri-tech and marine decarbonisation
  • Delivered more electric vehicle charging across the district and developed skills in-house to install chargers ourselves
  • Continued to deliver and support domestic retrofit schemes through ECO4, Home Upgrade Grant and Connected Warmth
  • Held a symposium titled 'Keep it Local' with the help of Sustainable South Hams to address two key questions - "what stops producers selling more locally?" and "what can the council do to help?"
  • Provided further funding to Sustainable South Hams to continue our ongoing partnership
  • Completed heat decarbonisation plans for our leisure centres supported by the Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund
  • Trialled a new retrofit hydrogen electrolyser system in one of our marine vessels in Dartmouth
  • Trained 25 more members of staff to become Carbon Literate
  • Held our first ever public event around cycling in Ivybridge called Pedal Power which included a mini velodrome for people to try
  • Secured funding to deliver marine chargers in Salcombe as part of the Electric Seaway project
  • In early 2023, 425 large standard trees were planted under the ‘Urban Tree Challenge Fund’ scheme, bringing the total planted to 603 trees, with almost all on Council owned parks and green spaces in Totnes, Kingsbridge, Dartmouth and Ivybridge
  • In the summer 2023 season, the first ‘wildlife areas’ were rolled out – this season saw a focus of relaxing grass cutting on sites/parts of sites where there would not be conflict with recreational uses. This alongside signage at the sites, with a supporting website.


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.

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:

VCSE Energy Efficiency Scheme

The new scheme to support voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) organisations to reduce energy costs and improve their energy efficiency is now open to applications.

The VCSE Energy Efficiency Scheme has a total of £25m to increase the energy efficiency and long-term sustainability of a range of frontline voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations.

There are two strands:

  1. Funding for the cost and delivery of an independent energy assessment. This will help to identify how to reduce bills through measures such as improving or installing new energy features in the building, or changing how energy is used.
    This part of the scheme is now open.
  2. Organisations with an energy assessment may then be eligible to apply for a capital grant of £2,000 to £150,000 to install the recommended energy efficiency measures in their premises.
    This part of the scheme will open to applications in January 2024.

Click here to find out more.

Naturesave Trust: Food - Deadline 29 February 2024

Grants of £2,500 to £5,000 are available from the Naturesave Trust for projects that restore the environment, promote conservation and encourage sustainable communities. The funding comes from the premiums generated by Naturesave Insurance, an ethical insurance provider based in Totnes, and the Trust is keen to support Devon-based projects.

There are three funding rounds each year. For each funding round, projects need to meet the requirements of the theme announced by the Trust.

Applications will open in January for the new funding window which has the theme of Food. Grants of £2,500 to £5,000 are available for projects relating to food, for example those dealing with food waste, food scarcity or foodbanks.

Grant applications are invited from charities, social enterprises, voluntary organisations and small businesses.

Click here to find out more.

New Research, News and Publications

COP28 Summary


COP28 was the 28th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC). Each year, these conventions involve negotiations between nations, its governments and other non government organisations to discuss and agree on steps to tackle climate change. A separate COP is held to tackle biodiversity.

A useful summary of COP28 can be found at Carbon Brief, whilst the overall outcome can be seen as disappointing with fossil fuel phase out being altered to 'transition away' COP28 did see a many new international pledges:

  • Food and Agriculture Organization Roadmap to 1.5: a plan to tackle global hunger whilst initiating a multi year process for food system decarbonisation
  • A statement emphasising the connections between climate change and health called the COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health
  • $700million of funding committed at COP28 to the Loss and Damage Fund

To read many more updates that have emerged from COP28, click here for the full Carbon Brief article.

The Future Homes and Buildings Standards: 2023 consultation


The Government has launched its consultation into proposes changes to Part 6 (energy efficiency requirements), Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (ventilation) of the Building Regulations for homes and non-domestic buildings.

It also seeks evidence on previous changes to Part O (overheating).

These proposed changes aim to deliver new homes and non-domestic buildings that are zero-carbon ready, meaning no further work would be necessary to ensure they have zero carbon emissions once the electricity grid has decarbonised. .

The consultation will close on 6 March 2024.

Click here to find out more.

Review of the research and scientific understanding of drought


On 28 November, the Government published a review of the current scientific knowledge about drought in the UK.

The review focused on three themes: the physical processes that drive droughts, the impacts of drought, and the management of drought

It includes how drought may alter due to climate change, and what the implications are for both the catchment environment and the way we manage water resources, now and in the future.

Click here to read more.