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

This somewhat wet May, feeling more like April, it's been about outdoor projects with the adoption of the county-wide electric vehicle strategy and a new no-mow trial to increase biodiversity at some key sites across the district. We've also got lots to celebrate now that the Council End of Year Report is ready, and I must say it gives me a great sense of pride to see how many green initiatives have been delivered over the last year. We're also championing and partnering with the national Keep Britain Tidy Great British Spring Clean campaign as well as supporting some fantastic local green projects.
 
I wish you all a great bank holiday weekend, and I hope you will be getting out and enjoying nature whatever the weather!
Best Eco Wishes
Sarah x
SSDC Green News
SSDC End of Year Report-Environment Achievements
It's been a year like no other, despite the challenges we have managed to progress our strategy for being carbon neutral by 2030 or sooner. The SSDC End of Year Achievements Report is out now and shows environment is a key priority in the council's 5 point plan, with over 40 green projects delivered over the last 12 months. Check out the environment section of the report here.
SSDC approves Somerset Electric Vehicle Strategy

South Somerset District Councillors have approved the adoption of the countywide Somerset Electric Vehicle Strategy which will set out how Somerset moves forward collaboratively to form a joined-up electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the county. The strategy includes forming a working group of the four other Somerset district councils and Somerset County Council.
 
The Somerset EV Charging Strategy will support the Somerset County Council Highways Authority to plan the deployment of on Street EV Charging for our communities where there is a lack of off-street parking. SCC are the highway authority, so any on-street charge point scheme will be led by them, but with input from the joint working group, we can ensure full engagement and careful consideration of any on-street scheme that meets and addresses all the needs of our residents.

EV Charging Infrastructure Phase 2 Rollout
The adoption of the Somerset Electric Vehicle Strategy also aligns with the work already underway by SSDC and in other Somerset district authorities. SSDC is working with partners to progress this and has already installed the 3 rapid charging stations along the A303 corridor at Wincanton, Ilchester, and Ilminster. The next phase of EV charging stations will be installed in around 25 viable SSDC owned or operated car parks which will provide at least 50 new charging connectors available for use at any one time. Installations will begin this summer and be completed by the end of the year. This is in partnership with the Devon Low Carbon Energy and Transport Technology Innovator (DELETTI) EV charging project, a partnership of Devon Councils and SSDC. The chosen EV Charging Network installer and operator is Scottish Power who will also provide the renewable energy supply to the dual 22kW Charging stations. 
South Somerset District Council No Mow Trials

In support of Plantlife’s ‘No Mow May’ project, we’re implementing a No Mow Trial, by letting the flowers bloom and species prosper across certain SSDC-owned spaces throughout the summer and beyond. This will create new habitats and a vital source of sustenance for our pollinators and other wildlife. We’ll be changing our mowing routine at specific areas maintained by SSDC in Castle Cary, Ansford, Milborne Port, Cucklington, Ilminster and some of the bulb areas in Yeovil to allow wild plants to flower and set seed, hopefully creating enough nectar for ten times more bees and other pollinators. You’re also more likely to spot a greater variety of flowers popping up in your community over the seasons now that these areas are not being cut so frequently during the year. 

Look out for the conservation verge signs shown above and scan the QR code to join in and rewild your own patch of land, however big or small! You can also find out more here at the Plantlife website!
Recycle More starts next Month! Be Box clever and order your extra containers (if needed) in plenty of time
We're working with Somerset Waste Partnership to bring Recycle More to all 78,000 South Somerset households at the end of June.

You will now have received information through your door on what happens and when.

In the meantime, remember nothing changes until you receive your BRIGHT BLUE BAG, an additional new recycling container that will be delivered to your household before the first Recycle More collection. You can read more about it here, however, you can be box clever and be prepared. If you think you'll need more of the existing recycling containers you can order them from Somerset Waste Partnership here.
Be a Litter Hero with the Great British Spring Clean
28 May - 13 June

We're partnering with Keep Britain Tidy's Great British Spring Clean! Joining an army of community #Litterheroes on a #MillionMileMission to clear litter from our streets, parks and beaches. Because what is good for our environment is good for our mental and physical health too. Up for it? Find out more and pledge to pick here
Need Kit? Borrow from SSDC!

You can borrow a litter picking kit from our Lufton Depot in Yeovil by prior arrangement. We can also collect large amounts of picked litter if arranged prior to your litter picking event. Please contact Nathan Turnbull via email at nathan.turnbull@southsomerset.gov.uk to request kit and arrange a covid safe collection. Please observe and follow the Keep Britain Tidy safeguarding policy and covid safety guidelines at all times.

Let's do our bit to keep South Somerset beautiful and clean! #Lovewhereyoulive
Visiting one of our Country Parks?

If you're visiting one of our beautiful country Parks, you'll see CPRE Countryside Charity sponsored litter picking stations at Yeovil Country Park, Chard Reservoir and there will soon be one at Ham Hill. Why not give them a go with a #2minutelitterpic. LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE!
Purchase a #2minutelitterpic Station for your Community

The CPRE sponsored litter picking stations are now all spoken for, but Parish Councils and community organisations can still purchase them. To find out more visit beachclean.net.
EuCAN Volunteers Rock!

Our team at Ham Hill Country Park would like to give a big shout-out and say thank you to Dave and his team from EuCAN who came to Ham Hill to help continue with the dry stone walling on the flat fields. Despite the wind, rain, or hail, none of it dampened their enthusiasm and EuCAN's volunteers managed to get through an amazing amount of work on the west wall, as you can see in the photo! Big thanks for both their time and all their hard work. #Eucan #volunteering
Community Green Initiatives
Yeovil Rotary Club Woods Project

Yeovil Rotary Club is donating funds to SSDC to fund 100 trees to create a small area of woodland in the Yeovil area. The club is also electing a dedicated environment representative to push forward its environmental initiatives. On 18 May our Environment Specialist Josh Bennett met with the club to update on our environment strategy and discuss potential sites and tree species that will create the woodland area, which once created will be open for the public to visit and enjoy. We’ll keep you updated when the site is confirmed and when planting begins in the Autumn.
Somerset Climate Action Network - Get Involved

Become a Climate Action Networker
Join Somerset CAN’s county-wide network of people taking action on climate change: Share your experiences, find solutions and share community resources. If you have a little or a lot of time you can make real difference to Somerset's climate change, everyone can get involved and be part of the change.
Solar Streets is coming to Ham Hill Villages

Ham Hill villages have joined South Somerset Solar Streets to enable residents of villages surrounding Ham Hill to purchase solar panels for their homes or business at discounted prices. The scheme helps to increase fossil fuel free, clean energy and helps your local community, as a donation to the Ham Hill Plus Community Fund is given on every install – £50 for a domestic installation and £100 for a commercial one. If you live in this area then the Ham Hill Plus scheme is open to you. 
You can find out more at the Launch Presentation and Q&A session via Zoom on Tuesday 22nd June at 7.30 pm – 8.30 pm

You need to Register in advance for this meeting so click here to find out more and register to attend. See below for information on help with funding too!
Grants and Funding
SSDC Partner Lendology Home Improvement Loans
If you want to make improvements to your home but not sure if you can afford it, South Somerset District Council has worked with Lendology since 2005 to enable homeowners to access financial help to do this. Lendology will work with you to take the stress out of funding repairs, improvements or adaptations. Their team of advisers will guide you through the process of applying for a home improvement loan, and this won’t impact your credit score. 

  • A range of loan types based on your circumstances
  • Borrow from £1,000 to £25,000
  • No early repayment charges
  • Flexibility to overpay
  • Choose your own contractor
  • Fixed interest rate (Typical 4.2% APR)
  • No upper age limits

They will assess your eligibility, talk through how much you could borrow and the loan best suited to your circumstances. Find out more here
Local School Nature Grants from The Learning Through Landscapes Trust  

Learning through Landscapes Local School Nature Grants Programme, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery is providing schools grants of up to £500 to support training in outdoor learning and the purchase of outdoor learning equipment such as bee hotels and bird boxes!

LearningthroughLandscapes is a UK-based charity dedicated to enhancing outdoor learning and play for children.

You can find out more about it here
SSDC Community Grants For Local Environment Projects

If your community has a proposal for great environment project, you could get support towards it, through a SSDC Community Grant. Just visit the South Somerset District Council website here and tell us all about it.
Green Learning
Somerset Wildlife Trust & The People's Trust for Endangered Species Talk About Hedgerows

Megan Gimber of the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species is just mad about hedgerows! She recently gave an online talk with the Somerset Wildlife Trust about the importance of hedges for wildlife, sequestration, what a hedge actually is and how best to manage them to maximise their benefits. Jolyon Chesworth of Somerset Wildlife Trust shared this recording with us to share with you, and invites you to get involved and help with surveying local hedges.
 
Green Titbits
Sadly the UK's Overshoot day has already happened and it's only May!
 
If everyone on earth lived like people in the UK, the earth's natural resources would already be used up for the year by 19 May 2021 – this means we would have 'overshot' what the earth can replenish in a year by more than six months.
 
To redress the balance we can all examine how and what we consume and find solutions for ecological resources to equal what can be regenerated in that year. A way we can measure our impact on a personal level is to complete a carbon calculator to highlight how we can find ways to live within the planet’s boundaries. The carbonfootprint calculator will show you the highs and lows of daily consumption and highlight where we can make changes, improve our sustainability and make a positive difference to our environment. The diagram below shows the overshoot day for us and other countries. Find out more about overshoot days here. #movethedate.
Can you bank on your money to be used ethically?

An ethical bank has principles which means it only invests its customers' money in a certain way. ... Ethical banking will typically mean that the provider is trying to have a positive impact on society, the local community and the environment. You can check out the reviews by the Ethical Consumer at www.ethicalconsumer.org to find out which banks are the best performing ethically and environmentally. They also have a mine of information on aspects of life such as fashion, insurance, travel, retailers, and much more. A great place to find out who the good guys are! 
For Peat's Sake! Stop the Bogs being Bagged

Peatlands are amazing! They store carbon, filter our drinking water and provide unique habitats for wildlife. Peat has taken thousands of years to form in watery peat bogs, which if left alone are massive carbon sinks which lock and store carbon away forever. In the UK they store more carbon than all of Europe's forests.

There's good news for peat. The government has now said that gardeners in England will not be able to buy peat compost from 2024. The ban comes as part of a £50 million action plan to restore 35,000 hectares (135 square miles) of peatland across the country. The ban will also be phased across commercial sectors over time.


There's no time like the present to say goodbye to peat. Don't support digging it up, take a look at Monty Don's advice on the Gardeners World website and buy peat-free compost. Be the change and protect the peat bogs.
Take part in The Wildlife Trust Citizen Science Bugs Matter Survey

Insects underpin our natural world and their numbers can help us to better understand what is happening in our environment. 
 
The Wildlife Trust is asking us all to take part this summer and sharing findings to help understand more about our insect populations!
 
Visit the Wildlife Trust Bugs Matter page to sign up, download the free app, and find out how to start surveying the bugs between 1st June to 31st August. 
Recommended Viewing and Reading
The People Vs Climate Change BBC-iplayer

Britain has made big promises about reducing our impact on the planet, but getting there means huge changes to our everyday lives. In this surprising and funny documentary, we follow members of the UK’s first ever Citizens Assembly on climate change, where 108 ordinary Brits are tasked with deciding what we should do to meet our climate change goals.

Available to watch now on BBC i-player
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.
BBC Countryfile Plant Britain Spring Special

If you didn't see the recent episode of BBC Countryfile's Plant Britain then we recommend you give it a watch! Plant Britain is an ambitious two-year challenge to get us all planting flowers, trees, fruit and vegetables to help combat climate change and at the same time, boost our wellbeing and wildlife. We can all get involved, and put our planted patch on the Plant Britain map! Click here for the link to watch and get planting! What will you grow?
Carbon Detox by George Marshall

Recommend by SSDC Environment Specialist Cara Naden who told us this book is a really good insight into climate change and how we can carbon audit our lives by making changes at home, work, and all aspects of life. The book also explains how to overcome psychological blocks such as scepticism, fear, and feelings of insignificance. This book includes advice on low-carbon transport options, and holidays and how to create an energy-efficient home. Often humorous in places, it's well worth a read!
How Much Land Does a Man Need?

Recommended by SSDC Environment Specialist Josh Bennett. This Leo Tolstoy book "How Much Land Does a Man Need" is a short story (not War and Peace!) which tells of a man who in his lust for land forfeits everything. Josh told us this book was enlightening and really put life into perspective and made him think about what's important.
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If you have any questions, a story to tell, news, views or ideas please get in touch with us at ssdcenvironment@southsomerset.gov.uk