Welcome to our June 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

This month we've been enjoying some wonderful sunny weather and it's been very apparent that the birds, bees and pollinators have been making up for lost time after last month's wet weather. I've been out and about at our new no mow areas and can already see new flowers blooming and wildlife making the most of them.

Our Countryside team has been surveying wildlife at Ham Hill and made some exciting discoveries. We also have the results of the electric car and e-bike survey to share with you.


And before I go, I must remind you that Plastic Free July is happening soon, so a great time to stop and think about our plastic use. With the Recycle More scheme rolling out, I think it will be even more apparent how much plastic is in our lives. Check out the feature on the Five R's.

Best Eco Wishes
Sarah x
SSDC Green News
South Somerset District Council No Mow Trials are blooming!

Last month we told you about the no mow verge conservation trials happening on some verges across South Somerset. These are now marked out and already flourishing. Our Portfolio Holder for Environment Sarah Dyke visited the Cucklington site and told us all about the scheme and how to create our own space for rewilding.
SSDC Countryside Wildlife Surveys essential to habitat management
Spring has been a busy time of year for the rangers across our countryside sites. As well as managing our sites for visitors to enjoy, they have been busy monitoring the habitat management they do for the wildlife too. This means lots of surveys! 
 
Carrying out wildlife surveys allows us to monitor the populations of important ‘key indicator’ species such as butterflies, birds, reptiles, bees, wildflowers, water voles and more. The information we record can show changes in population or distribution which can help influence our habitat management works on site. The information also gets shared with the Somerset Environmental Records Centre (SERC) and feeds into national databases to monitor trends and distribution for species nationally.
 
Surveys for some species require a special licence from Natural England as they are protected by law, such as great crested newts, bats and dormice. The rangers hold the licences themselves or work with licensed surveyors to carry out these surveys in a way that Natural England prescribes so that the animals are not disturbed or harmed. 
A recent bat survey at Ham Hill delighted the rangers, not only with a new species record for the site (Whiskered bat) but also with an unexpected sighting of a glow worm! Survey’s always throw up some surprises and it is rewarding to see the wildlife that we manage thriving across our sites. Sometimes we don’t record any sightings of the actual animals we are surveying for, like otters at Yeovil Country Park, but seeing the signs that they are present along the river can be just as satisfying and gives us hope that we may one day be able to glimpse these fantastic animals in their natural habitat.

Most surveys take place between April and June as this is the peak breeding period for much of our wildlife and so they are most active during this time. The surveys are carried out at different times of the day and evening, depending on when species are most active and so breeding bird surveys have seen the rangers out at 5.30am whilst bat surveys don’t start until 9.30pm! Reptile and invertebrate surveys continue throughout the summer at more sociable times as they are dependent on the warm weather for their energy.
 
Whatever the time of day or night, it is certainly an aspect of the job that the rangers find hugely enjoyable and rewarding, after all, it’s why they chose conservation as a career in the first place!
Set up a survey for your local greenspace

We can help support you set up surveys for your local greenspace, please get in touch with us at ssdcenvironment@southsomerset.gov.uk. Or you could also explore the local area groups of the Somerset Wildlife Trust or species groups.
Recycle More is live!
As of Monday 28th June, the new Recycle More service is live, bringing a new improved recycling service 78,000 South Somerset households.

You should have received posted information from Somerset Waste Partnership and delivery of your new blue bag and be good to go! If you're still not sure how it all works you can find everything you need to know here.
Electric Transport Car Sharing Survey Results
Thank you to everyone who took part in the electric car and bike sharing survey. The results have now been collected and you can read the results here.
Sharing is Caring
Now that many of us are working from home and using our cars less, there are great ways we can maximise carbon and cost-savings by sharing our car with others. There are several ways we can do this from loaning the vehicle out through a certified hire scheme or sharing journeys to work, school. events or the shops through lift share schemes.
Interested? Here are some existing solutions already available:

Hiya Car - Peer to peer local car rental

Getaround UK - Rent your own car out

Karshare - Share your car and rent a car in your local community
An even better eco option is to lift share – a full car is less carbon-emitting than an unfilled train or coach. Learn more at Go Car Share and Liftshare.
Council completes eco-friendly car park extension in Chard

Boden Street car park in Chard, has received an ‘eco-friendly’ face lift with a new type of surfacing and low energy lighting bringing many benefits.

Rather than traditional tarmac, SSDC has used locally sourced, stabilised aggregate to cover the surface of the car park extension. This greatly reduces the energy required in the construction process, and allows water to soak through to underlying soils, reducing pressure on the town centre surface water drainage, and so reduce the risk of flooding. It will also allow us to retain the existing trees because they can continue to access water and root growth can be accommodated without breaking tarmac.

The aggregate was sourced locally from Chard quarry and so transportation was kept to a minimum and the previous lighting has also been replaced with new low energy LED fittings. These will contribute to a significant reduction in the use of electricity and the overall carbon footprint of the project. You can find out more about Chard Regeneration on our microsite at www.chardregeneration.co.uk
Parish Environment Champions
Helpful advice for Parish & Town Councils

Parish and Town Councils can get some really good advice on actions they can take in their community to combat climate change.

Visit the Climate Action website to get the low down on what your parish could do to make where you live a greener healthier place.

Don't forget we're also here to help, so if you have any questions on how you could make a difference where you live, please contact us at ssdcenvironment@southsomerset.gov.uk
COP26 Request for Best Practice Prompts
 
Has your Town or Parish Council declared a climate emergency? Are you working towards mitigating and adapting to climate change to reach local net zero?

We know there are some fantastic environmental initiatives happening across our parishes, which could be shared to benefit other local authorities.

So, ahead of this year's COP26 summit in Glasgow, we're being asked to showcase local council’s work to the rest of local government.
COP26 are looking for universal tools, templates, and policies which other councils can use and adapt to their own local areas, in order to share good practice. If every council contributes one piece of learning; they can gather many rewards for the whole of local government.
If your Parish Council has some notable practice to share please submit it through this form by the 9th of July, and we'd love to learn more about what you are doing too! So if you could please also share with us at ssdcenvironment@southsomerset.gov.uk that would be wonderful!
Advice to Government 2021 Progress Report to Parliament

The Climate Change Committee's annual assessment of UK progress in reducing emissions and biennial assessment of progress in adapting to climate change. This double report – Progress in reducing emissions and Progress in adapting to climate change provides a comprehensive overview of the UK Government’s progress to date on reducing emissions and adapting to climate change. Together, the assessment offers more than 200 policy recommendations covering every part of Government. Read the full report and recommendations here

Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk

The Adaptation Committee’s Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk sets out the priority climate change risks and opportunities for the UK. The report draws on an extensive programme of analysis, consultation and consideration by the Committee involving over 450 people, 130 organisations and more than 1,500 pages of evidence and analysis.
 
In support of this advice report, the Committee for Climate Change has created a dedicated website www.ukclimaterisk.org to host all of the outputs from the UK Climate Risk Independent Assessment (CCRA3), including: Technical Report, National Summaries, Sector Briefings, Research & Supporting Analysis. The technical report also highlights “The largest future flood risk is evident in coastal areas including the top three risk locations of Hull, the City of Portsmouth and Sedgemoor District Council"
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.
Community Green Initiatives
Pedal for the Planet!

At the end of last year, Muchelney Parish Meeting with Kingsbury Episcopi Parish Council applied to the Somerset Climate Emergency Community Fund for a project to promote and encourage cycling among residents. We were delighted to secure the funding and now ‘Pedal for the Planet’ will deliver a series of free workshops and activities over the summer months to promote safe and fun cycling for everyone. Did you know that residents of small rural villages like these make the highest annual number of car journeys? By swapping car for bike for short, local journeys we can make a real difference to our personal carbon emissions - and it's good for our health and wellbeing too.
Local business HubLife (based at New Cross Court, West Lambrook) will be delivering activities ranging from fun balance bike sessions for little ones through to bike maintenance and safe cycling workshops. There will be something for all ages and abilities. We’re also going to map and digitise local cycling routes starting and ending in the parishes so there will be no excuse not to get on your bike more often.
To find out more, including where and when the events will be happening please visit and follow the project’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PedalForThePlanetMuchelney or look out for notices in the Muchelney and Kingsbury Episcopi community spaces and on noticeboards. 
Somerset County Council
The Fight Against Ash Dieback in Somerset

Ash Dieback disease (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) has spread throughout much of the country, with many trees already dead or dying. Somerset has a high density of ash trees, meaning the impact from it will be highly significant, with big changes to our landscape.

SSDC is working to manage diseased ash trees on our own estates and with Somerset County Council (SCC) for those affecting highways in the district.

Visit the SCC website to find out more or check out this document which gives a good overview of symptoms and identifying affected trees, as well as what you can do if you think you've got or know of a diseased ash tree.
Volunteering
Become a volunteer with the Council

Whatever your background, interests or skills, there are lots of different activities you can do. If you have free time, knowledge, skills, and experience, and you're willing to give free of charge, your work with the council will help benefit the community and the environment.

We're so grateful to our volunteers. Their support and dedication is vital, and without their hard work, many of our community based activities and services would struggle to function.

Read more here and see if volunteering is for you.
Grants and Funding
Tree Council Winter Hedge Fund
As part of the Tree Council's year-long Close the Gap programme, they have now opened their Community Hedge Fund for applications. Grants of up to £2,500 are available for volunteer Tree Wardens and community groups to plant new hedgerows, hedgerow trees and to gap up existing hedgerows in rural and urban areas across England this winter. 
 
The deadline for applications is Sunday 8 August 2021. Your planting will need to take place between November and January 2022. You can find out more about the fund and apply on The Tree Council website
Free trees for schools and communities

The Woodland Trust are offering everybody in the UK has the chance to plant a tree, and are giving away hundreds of thousands of trees to schools and communities, in their quest to get millions more trees in the ground. There are a variety of packs to choose from and applications are invited for trees to be delivered in November 2021. Find out more here
The Enterprise Development Programme: Environmental Grants 

A support package, including grants of up to £30,000, for environmental not-for-profit organisations in England to research or test out new ideas, launch new enterprises or grow existing social enterprises. The application deadline for Stage 1 applications is Tuesday 13 July 2021. Find out more here
Fort Foundation grants for environment projects

THE FORT FOUNDATION – Grants of variable sizes to registered charities in England and Wales working in the environment. Registered charities in England and Wales can apply for grants at any time in writing for projects in the UK and overseas. Individuals may also apply for grant support.

Applications should be addressed to:
 
The Fort Foundation
Fort Vale Engineering Limited
Calder Vale Park
Simonstone Lane
Burnley
Lancashire
BB127ND
Tel: 01282 440000

RSA grants are available to support charities that are working to improve risk education, as well as those helping to tackle climate change and environmental related issues. The term “risk education” refers in this context to working directly with communities to help change behaviours and reduce the risk of death or injury.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available with no matched funding requirement. The Fund is specifically aimed at small local charities across the UK. RSA has stated that local action built on local insights must come first. Small charities must be supported to ensure that communities not only survive but thrive. Small charities have been the backbone of our communities throughout the pandemic – and they will help to shape our recovery".
The RSA plans to notify successful applicants by Saturday 31 July 2021. Supported projects must be completed within 6 months of receiving a grant (i.e. by the end of January 2022).

Details on how to apply and the full entry criteria are available here on the Neighbourly website. We've only just heard about this one, so hurry! The deadline for applications is 9am on Friday 2 July 2021.
Green Learning
Carymoor Environmental Trust

Learning from the Land courses

If you're interested in a career in conservation and managing the countryside then Carymoor's 'Learning from the Land' course is a great place to start. They're running 2 courses, each delivered over 4 consecutive Fridays, to provide an introduction to conservation, traditional crafts, and environmental education. The next course begins on 9th July.

The courses are open to people who are unemployed or economically inactive and are funded by the European Social Fund. If you would like to book a place please contact education@carymoor.org.uk or call (01963) 350143
Green Titbits
Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is a global movement started in Australia that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities.Try to reduce how much plastic you buy during the month of July and hopefully it will change your behavior forever! Make a concerted effort to buy loose fruit and vegetables and the plastic-free versions of things you would normally buy.
The Five R's Mantra For Life

REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, REPURPOSE, RECYCLE

Make the 5 R’s your mantra to reduce your carbon footprint and ecological impact. Find out your carbon footprint here

The five R’s are considerations we should all make when consuming anything, and four of these should be considered before any recycling takes place. We need to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and if we can’t do the first four, then Recycle.

REFUSE – Say No to what you don’t need, it’s the simplest way to minimise your environmental impact.

REDUCE - the amount of items you purchase by being mindful of what you truly need. Less is more, small is beautiful.

REUSE - Switch disposable items for reusable and long life alternatives. Reusing also means selling and buying used items, swapping and donating to loving homes instead of ending up as waste.

REPURPOSE – Every item that can’t be refused, reduced or reused, could be repurposed, or as it’s more readily known - upcycled!

RECYCLEWe’re programmed to believe recycling is the go-to solution for waste reduction, but it’s actually number five on the list behind refuse, reduce, and reuse and repurpose. Recycling is still energy intensive and unless we reduce and buy recycled products there is very little benefit in recycling.

Visit Somerset Waste Partnership's Action on plastics page which includes making a pledge against preventable plastics here. You can also submit your own ideas to tackle the plastic problem.
CPRE 2021 Photo Competition
My Somerset – at work, rest & play.

Calling all budding photographers of all ages! The Countryside Charity's brilliant 2021 photo competition is now open for a chance to win £100! They want to highlight the range and diversity of people, places, events and activities that make our Somerset countryside special. They are two prizes of £100 cash – one for adults and one for our new under 18s category.

It’s up to you how you interpret our theme “My Somerset – at work, rest & play”. Your photo could show a farmer rounding up his sheep, a family picnic, your kids enjoying the rope swing in your local woods, your favourite dog walk, countryside skills like hedgelaying or dry stone walling, volunteers doing a beach clean or the village flower show – the possibilities are endless.
We are ideally looking for photos that include people working in the countryside, people enjoying the outdoors or close-up details showing the intimate experience of being outside in nature.
Your images can be taken in the last 2 years and photos from all seasons are very welcome.

Competition entry is FREE and you may enter up to 3 photos. Closing date is 31st August 2021. Full details of how to enter, plus the competition rules can be found here

The beautiful image below of walkers crossing Tarr Steps, Exmoor, was last year's winning photo taken by Jeff Hutson.
Radio 2's Big Bee Challenge!

The Big Bee Challenge is Radio 2’s brand new competition for kids, in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society.

It’s a fun and creative way to learn more about bees and other insects that help provide much of the food we eat, and are essential for a healthy environment. The competition is open to children between the ages of 6 and 12, who are asked to enter a drawing of a bright, buzzy garden that will attract bees and other pollinating insects. The competition closes 5th July. Find out more here!
Who will you thank this Thank You Day?

An idea that started from just 13 individuals and is now supported by hundreds of organisations across the country, and has the backing of celebrities, religious leaders and sports stars, local councils, schools, businesses and communities throughout the UK. 
 
The aim is for as many people as possible to be involved, however they would like, so everyone who deserves it gets a thank you – and the whole of the UK gets together.  

There isn’t a strict plan for the day (the idea is to say thank you however you want!) but people are already organising lots of activities which we can all join in with and support. Click here and find out how to get involved and there are also lots of resources to download here.

We're going to be out and about next week making a video montage of thank yous to those who are helping us to improve our environment in South Somerset.
And on that note.

THANK YOU!

For reading, sharing and contributing to this newsletter, for being with us on our journey to be part of the first generation to leave the planet in a better state than we found it, and for being amazing supporters.

Thank you from us all in the environment team at SSDC x
Recommended Reading and Viewing
21 Lessons for the 21st Century
Recommended by Cara Naden Environment Specialist at SSDC
“What are today’s greatest challenges and most important changes? We're flooded with information constantly so what should we pay attention to? What should we teach our kids?”
Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a thrilling journey through today's most urgent issues. The golden thread running through his exhilarating book is the challenge of maintaining our collective and individual focus in the face of constant and disorienting change. Are we still capable of understanding the world we have created?
Eve: The off-grid life of a 9yr old climate activist 

Eve is the intimate story of a nine-year-old girl living in Tinkers Bubble, one of the oldest off-grid communities in the UK based near Ham Hill here in South Somerset. A fledgling environmental activist, we follow her as she navigates her way back into traditional schooling and stands up for what she passionately believes in: the environment
Watch it here
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 chose eco-solutions.
Coming Soon!
our brand new South Somerset Environment website!

We're almost ready to unveil our brand new website! We're just making the last few tweaks and we'll be ready to share this new platform with you. The site will showcase environment projects across the district, inform, educate and support, as well as allow us to interact together. It will also mean we can make Get SuSSed more succinct, as we'll be able to link to the website for the long reads. We looking forward to welcoming you very soon.
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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