Welcome to our July issue of Get SuSSed, with all the latest eco news from SSDC and across the district, plus learning resources, funding opportunities and recommended reads, competitions and more!
Hello from Councillor Sarah Dyke our Portfolio Holder for Environment

Hello everyone,
I'm very happy to be able to share some great news about our switch to a new renewable energy tariff, a wonderful community grant scheme we've supported at Ferne Animal Sanctuary, plus the exciting launch of our new Environment website! And much more!

I also want to give a huge warm welcome to our new member of the team Laurence Copleston who has joined us as an Environment and Climate Change Case Officer. We're very excited to have him on board and we can already see what a great asset to the team he will be.

Wishing you all a wonderful summer!

Best Eco Wishes
Sarah x
SSDC Green News
New SSDC Environment Team Member

Welcome our new team member Laurence Copleston who has recently joined as an Environment and Climate Change Case Officer.

Laurence has worked in the environment sector for over 10 years, having completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Management. Since then, he's been working as an Environmental Consultant, specialising in Environmental Impact Assessment and Planning, and working on a range of renewable energy and transportation projects in the South West.

Laurence told us "I have a keen interest in the environment and am passionate about finding ways to help reduce our carbon footprint and protect biodiversity. As SSDC’s Environment and Climate Change Officer I’m here to help deliver the environment strategy and support the council and community get to carbon neutrality by 2030."
South Somerset District Council switch to green energy

We are delighted to now be able to confirm we have switched our energy supply to a 100% REGO renewable energy tariff for all our electricity across the SSDC estate.

REGO (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin) is a scheme that provides transparency to consumers about the proportion of electricity that suppliers source from renewable generation.
Have you thought about switching to renewable energy?

Switching to green energy is one of the easiest and most impactful things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint.

If you're thinking about it but not sure where to start, check out the Big Clean Switch’s free energy comparison service, where you can compare deals from the UK’s best green energy suppliers at bigcleanswitch.org
Why litter bins are not always the answer

Ham Hill Country Park is a much-loved beauty spot in South Somerset and as a District Council, we want to preserve and keep it clean and tidy for everyone.

After a spate of anti-social littering at the site in the summers of 2017 and 2018, we were forced to rethink how to address an ever-increasing litter problem at the heritage site.
The Countryside Rangers were spending a huge amount of time managing litter, leaving less time to use their wide range of skills and knowledge to maintain the ecological environment and preserve the heritage of the country park.
 
On 13th July 2019 we made the decision to remove all litter bins from the site and encourage visitors to take their rubbish home and recycle what they can. Two years on, Countryside Ranger Paul McNeil gives us an update, "The decision to remove the bins at Ham Hill was the right one.
Overall, we've seen a 81% reduction in litter compared to 2018, and we’ve given people the opportunity to contribute to the wellbeing of this much loved site and its wildlife. It’s a win-win situation, as we now save about six hours a week not spent clearing out bins, which is nearly six weeks of someone’s time annually, extra valuable time where the team can manage the site for our visitors and wildlife. This year, we only expect to see around 1.5 tonnes of litter at the site, which is still too much, and sadly this goes to landfill.
SSDC Community Grant helps reintroduce water voles at Ferne Animal Sanctuary

SSDC has awarded Ferne Animal Sanctuary a community grant of £950 as part of a £2,950 project to reintroduce water voles to the sanctuary.

Water voles are endangered in the United Kingdom and urgent action is needed to ensure the long term survival of this iconic and charismatic species. They’re under serious threat from habitat loss and predation by the American mink. Found along our waterways, they are similar-looking to the brown rat, but with a blunt nose, small ears and furry tail. Watch the video below to learn more.

For details of SSDC's Community Grant Scheme click here
Join in the bat walks at our Country Parks this summer

Last month we told you about a recent bat survey at Ham Hill that delighted the rangers, not only with the evidence of healthy colonies but also finding a new species recordings for the site, the Whiskered bat.

Our Countryside teams have organised some bat walks over the coming weeks where you can go along and learn how to identify them.

  • 11th August at Ham Hill-for families and children aged 10 and under
  • 18th August at Chard Reservoir- for families and children aged 10 and under
  • 1st September at Yeovil Country Park- for families and children aged 10 and under

For more details visit www.visitsouthsomerset.com/explore and look under the location for each walk (Ham Hill, Yeovil Country Park, or Chard Reservoir.) You'll also find lots of other great ways to get out and explore nature as well as a range of volunteering opportunities!
Would you know a pipistrelle from a long eared bat?

There are 18 species of bats in the UK. Check out the UK Bats website to find fact sheets and listen to their sounds. You can do some homework before you go on the bat walk!
New South Somerset Environment Website
It's here! Check out the new South Somerset Environment website at www.southsomersetenvironment.co.uk

This is a space where you can find out about what SSDC is doing to deliver our environment strategy and reach net zero carbon by 2030. You can post your views, ideas and knowledge on the Forum, find out what's happening in our communities, and Parish Environment champions have their own space too. We're also listing a growing number of eco-friendly businesses, organisations and groups in our Great Green Directory. Pop in and have a look around at www.southsomersetenvironment.co.uk
Are you an eco-friendly business,organisation or group?

Get listed in the SSDC Great Green Directory

The SSDC Great Green Directory is a one-stop shop where South Somerset residents can go to find local, trusted, sustainable and environmentally friendly businesses, organisations and community groups to help make eco and ethical choices when choosing products and services. The directory can be found on our new South Somerset Website.

We want to grow this list, so if you are a local eco-business, organisation, or community group who would like to be featured, we would love you to be involved. All listings are subject to eco credentials and are listed at the discretion of South Somerset District Council.

You can apply here via our updated form on Citizen Space.
Waste and Recycling
Somerset Waste Partnership Recycling Tracker - Tonnes to be proud of!
Over 97% of Somerset’s recycling stayed in the UK last year, a new Somerset Waste Partnership report has revealed.
 
The Somerset Recycling Tracker shows exactly what happened to the 137,146 tonnes of recycling collected kerbside and at recycling sites in 2020-21, and are highlighted in a helpful infographic that you can find on the SWP website here. It's also centre spread in the latest edition of Your Somerset.
 
A stunning 97.8% stayed in the UK for reprocessing (up from an already impressive 90% the previous year) and more than half stayed in Somerset.
 
The launch of Recycle More in Mendip and now South Somerset means SWP are collecting more plastic than ever and a remarkable 99.4% of this was recycled here in the UK, being turned into, amongst other things, food containers, fleeces and pipes. So make sure you chose products also made from recycled materials.
 
Thank you for recycling.
Soft Plastic Recycling now in South Somerset Supermarkets!

UK supermarkets currently generate 900,000 tonnes of plastic packaging every year.

Greenpeace have organised a petition to encourage industry-wide action on this issue, which we would encourage you to sign here.

With the new Recycle More scheme now here in South Somerset, clear plastic trays, bottles and Tetra packs can be recycled in your home recycling boxes; however ‘soft’ plastics such as bread bags, food pouches, salad bags and biscuit/ crisp wrappers are harder to recycle. A number of supermarket chains in South Somerset have now started providing recycling facilities for these types of plastics, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Co-op sites. Please ask for details when you next visit.
New Right to repair legislation

The UK has a new “right to repair” law, which will help to ensure more of our electrical goods can be fixed rather than thrown away!
So many products have “planned obsolescence”, which involves goods becoming unusable after a certain length of time with no method of repair, which is bad for both the environment and consumers.

Global e-waste rose 21% between 2014 and 2019, with the UK currently throwing away 300,000 tonnes of electrical waste from households and businesses each year.
The new law ensures manufacturers make spare parts, with the aim to extend the life cycle of devices and appliances by up to ten years.

One company already striving to provide greener and more ethical electronics is FairPhone, who produce modular and repairable mobile phones using recycled materials. They were recently awarded a perfect ‘10 out of 10’ for repairable design by the iFixIt community!

More articles about this can be found here and here.
COP26, Glasgow – November 2021

In the lead up to November’s UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, Glasgow has announced it is the first UK city to sign the Circular Cities Declaration. This is a commitment to supporting the cities’ businesses helping them to adopt sustainable business practices, and encouraging them to reuse and repair goods previously destined for landfill.

Here in South Somerset there is a significant scale of opportunity from the circular economy. The scope for the greatest potential has been identified in the food and drink and agricultural production sectors. Research by WRAP has estimated that agricultural food waste in the UK is worth approximately £1.2 billion per annum or 7% of annual agricultural output. Equating this to South Somerset suggests that on this factor alone there could be a market saving of £14 million per annum.

SSDC held an online seminar in October 2020 to local businesses to raise awareness of the circular economy research and initiatives that promote environmental sustainability alongside business growth. Please see a recording of our Circular Economy Seminar here. We will be looking to engage with our local businesses to help encourage the move to a circular economy. Look out for a case study in the near future!
If you want to find out more about the Circular Economy visit: www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org
Other Green News
Get Outside in Somerset

A new initiative called ‘Get Outside in Somerset’ has been launched to support people across Somerset to get active outside! Being outside brings huge benefits for our physical and mental health as well as bringing us closer to nature. For lots of ideas, tips, advice and guidance on how to keep or get active outdoors, as well as the August family challenge! visit www.getoutsideinsomerset.co.uk and watch the welcome video here.

What will you do? #getoutsideaugustchallenge
Environmenstruation Education

Let's talk about periods

Women with periods can be exposing themselves to toxic chemicals found in menstrual products on the market.

The Women's Environment Network (WEN) addresses the lack of impartial education and taboos that exist around periods, and raises awareness of hidden plastic and chemicals in conventional menstrual products, and promotes reusable and organic options. Check out their website here and tell your girlfriends there is another way.

If you're interested in becoming an Environmenstrual Ambassador to help women be empowered about periods you can express your interest here here
Parish Environment Champions
Barwick and Stoford make room to go wild!

Parish Environment Champion Jem Langworthy is passionate about the environment especially rewilding. He lives in the parish of Barwick and Stoford, a mile or two south of Yeovil, and has worked with the chairs of the parish council and the parochial church council to allow rewilding of areas in the parish. He told us they have both been entirely supportive of proposals to rewild the road verges and the village churchyard. They hope to extend the new planting and mowing regime next year as villagers see that billiard-table lawns cannot compare with rewilded meadow when it comes to beauty and – more importantly – diversity of habitat for plants and invertebrates. 

The image below is a startling contrast of what is believe it or not, the same road, where one side is cut and the other has been rewilded.
SSDC has also been trialling a No Mow initiative with local Parish Councils this summer as featured in last month's Get SuSSed. We're looking forward seeing more verges and green spaces rewilded across the district.

This photo shows a verge conservation trial at Cucklington taken by Cllr Sarah Dyke who has received some wonderful feedback from residents about the site. One resident said "We have just sat there and been amazed by the wildlife in the long grass including 10 dragon flies, literally dozens of butterflies, all sorts of beetles, crickets and so much more, as well as lots of flowers and different grasses."
Would you like to get to know other Parish Environment Champions?

We would like to help you get to know other environment champions across the district. To help kickstart this, we can help by setting up some informal one to one “coffee/tea and catch up sessions”, where you can have a conversation with another environment champion. If you're interested, let us know and we’ll link you up. Just email ssdcenvironment@southsomerset.gov.uk to register your interest.
Volunteering
Call out for Water Guardian Volunteers

Somerset Wildlife Trust and Wessex Water are looking to recruit and train volunteers in the Brue Valley catchment area to help monitor watercourses, identify possible pollution incidents and report them to Wessex Water for further investigation.

Water Guardians will be the eyes and ears on the ground, playing an integral role in both the health of their local river and in their communities.

So if you live in areas such as Bruton, Street, Glastonbury and Castle Cary, or if you don't live here, but want to get involved because you have an interest in rivers, and are willing to travel, please follow this link to register and find out more
Be a Citizen Scientist with West Country Rivers Trust

West Country Rivers Trust are looking for volunteers for their Citizen Scientist initiative. You'll help to educate and engage people with the water environment, produce data, spot pollution events and create a network of catchment communities that are invested in their local environment. Visit their website here to find out more.
Grants and Funding
Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Challenge Fund (climate change and nature)

A fund to support local community projects that are tackling the climate emergency and the biodiversity crisis within the Blackdown Hills AONB. Grants of up to £5,000 to be awarded.
Deadline: 3rd September. Apply here.
 The Bromley Trust

The Bromley Trust offers mullti-year unrestricted revenue grants for UK registered charities working in the environment and wildlife sector. To apply, initially complete the Eligibility Questionnaire on the Trust's website 
Ecclesiastical Insurance Movement for Good Awards 2021 (Phase 2)

Grants up to £10,000 are available for registered charities in the UK to turn creative ideas into practical projects including climate change and environment Deadline: Friday 6th August 2021. Applications for Phase 2 may be submitted on the Movement for Good awards website.
Green Titbits
National Allotments week will run between 9-15th August, with a theme of Plotting for the Future, celebrating the contribution that allotments make to a sustainable and healthy future.

The majority of allotments in South Somerset belong to the Town or Parish Councils so get in touch directly if you would like to get involved. However, SSDC are responsible for Bondfield Way (Chard), Little Sammons (Chilthorne Domer) and Lakefields (West Coker). For more information or to be added to the waiting list for one of these, contact us here
Recommended Viewing and Reading
Money Talks - Kathy Burke Channel All Four
Kathy Burke explores society's obsession with the pursuit of wealth and our relationship with money. Who has it? Who doesn't? And does it really make us happy? In episode two Kathy visits Tinkers Bubble near Ham Hill in South Somerset, a tiny community of 14 families drawn together by a desire to free themselves of the trappings of a capitalist society. You can watch on-demand via the channel four hub here *Contains strong language
Cradle to Cradle - Remaking the Way We Make Things - By William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart

This this month's recommended read from SSDC's Environment Specialist Cara Naden

The book put forward a design framework characterized by three principles derived from nature. Everything is a resource for something else. In nature, the “waste” of one system becomes food for another. Everything can be designed to be disassembled and safely returned to the soil as biological nutrients, or re-utilised as high quality materials for new products as technical nutrients without contamination.
Let My People Go Surfing- by Yvonne Chouinard
Recommended by SSDC Environment Specialist Josh Bennett

Let My People Go Surfing is the story of a man who brought doing good and having grand adventures into the heart of his business life. It's a book that will deeply affect entrepreneurs and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Watch the trailer below to get a taste of what it's all about.
Tell us how climate change is affecting where you live

If you can relate to some of the issues featured in these programmes where you live, then let us know. Do please share examples of positive action and change, from eco venues and businesses to community projects, highlighting evidence of climate and biodiversity changes. We want to build a picture of what's happening in South Somerset, and would really appreciate you getting in touch to tell us more. You can initially make contact via our ssdcenvironment@southsomerset.gov.uk
If you are a business or community group please send in your details to our Great Green Directory to help others choose eco-solutions.
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Get involved in Get SuSSed.

If you have any questions, a story to tell, news, views or ideas please get in touch with us at ssdcenvironment@southsomerset.gov.uk