Get SuSSed banner Feb 21
Welcome to Get SuSSed, the newsletter where we keep you in the know on all things linked to our Environment Strategy.
Hello from Councillor Sarah Dyke
Our Portfolio Holder for Environment
We've so much news to share with you this month!

The tree planting season is well underway, and SSDC teams and Parish volunteers have been working across the district in a covid safe way to get just shy of 4000 trees in the ground. Additionally, there is important hedge laying work happening, to grow and improve new and old habitats for wildlife and increase carbon sequestration across South Somerset.

We're also excited to let you know about the extension of the DfT E-Scooter trial to Crewkerne and Chard, how SSDC is supporting the South Somerset Solar Streets project and the brilliant news that our bid for the government decarbonisation grants has been successful! Plus much more so do please read on.

As ever, our goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 remains our priority and we're determined to keep pushing to meet the key milestones set out on the environment delivery plan.

Best eco wishes Sarah x
SSDC Green Initiatives

It's Good News Week!

Government Decarbonisation Fund Bids Granted

We are thrilled to let you know that we have been successful in our applications for decarbonisation grants. SSDC have been awarded just under £4m to be used to make buildings on our estates carbon neutral.

SSDC Supports the 2020 Government Local Electricity Bill and we will be aiming to purchase our energy from local renewable energy generators.
Image: Centre of Sustainable Energy
To top it off the Local Authority Decarbonisation Scheme have awarded just over £805,000 for the retrofit project to carry out improvements to 70 park homes across Somerset to include full insulation and conversion to energy efficient electrified heating.

Both these projects must be completed by September 2021.
Extension of the DfT E Scooter Trial For Crewkerne and Chard

Phase two of the current successful Department for Transport Yeovil E Scooter trial in partnership with micromobility operator Zwings is rolling out to Crewkerne and Chard.

We expect the first E scooters to be available in mid-March.

If you are a Crewkerne or Chard resident, visitor, or you work there, then Zwings would like to hear your views on where the e scooter bays are situated around the towns. You can contact Zwings here
SSDC Electric Vehicle Charging Network

The tender for the delivery of the DELETTI Electric Vehicle Charger project has been won by Scottish and Southern Energy.

With the supplier in place, the proposal will be to install charging points at a minimum of 25 locations across our estates, with two connectors at each. The aim is for this work to be completed by December 2021. 

SSDC has partnered with DELETTI – (Devon Low-carbon Energy & Transport Technology Innovator), Devon County Council and most of the Devon District Councils.
Future phases could expand this network still further in a range of locations based on feedback from our communities and usage data from the initial sites.

We estimate that once completed, this EV Charger installation programme will prevent more than 300 tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere every year.
SSDC is talking to CoCars about a potential Electric Vehicle Share Scheme

Do you ever need to use a car for just a few hours or a day?

Maybe you have a second car that isn’t used much but costs a bomb to get through the MOT every year? In fact, simply owning a car costs around £3,000 per year in terms of running costs and depreciation – and all for something that doesn’t even move 95% of the time. 

Since the announcement of the Government’s 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, interest in electric cars has surged by 500%. However, they remain too expensive for many people. In addition, one of the third of households cannot charge a car at home. 

South Somerset District Council would like to understand if there is interest in introducing a shared electric car club, and potentially an e-bike scheme.
That’s why we are talking to Co Cars about bringing shared, electric cars to locations around South Somerset. Co Cars is a not-for-profit cooperative social enterprise that already successfully runs a network of shared, low and zero-emission cars across the South West.
As a Co Cars member, you can book any car in their network from as little as half an hour for an all-inclusive price, with no mileage to pay when you use their electric cars. The cost covers fuel, insurance, tax and roadside assistance. Furthermore, each car club car also removes between 6-10 private cars from the road, reducing the pressure on car parking spaces as well as helping our environment by tackling congestion and pollution. 
To help us gauge interest in Co Cars coming to South Somerset, please take a couple of minutes to complete our short survey here which will be live until 30 April.
If you would like further information on Co Cars, including full details of their current locations and pricing, you can find out more here.
South Somerset Solar Streets

South Somerset District Council is supporting the South Somerset Solar Streets project.

PV Installer IDDEA is making discounted panels available to homeowners and businesses by offering bulk savings on installation and donating to a community fund for each scheme.

Bruton & Castle Cary, Brue Valley, and Somerton have already joined the scheme, and each has its own webpage and community fund. If you are part of a local green group, climate change group or Council, and want to have a Solar Streets scheme in your area then click here for more information or email
Culture Recovery Fund Enables New Ranger Roles At Ham Hill Country Park
Meet Ben, Edd and Izzy, our new Assistant Countryside Rangers who've recently joined us thanks to a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, a rescue package to safeguard cultural and heritage organisations across England from the economic impact of COVID-19.
SSDC applied for this grant funding after the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020 left a severely depleted Countryside workforce. Two rangers at Ham Hill were redeployed for an extended period in the spring & summer of 2020 to help the council deliver services to our most vulnerable residents. Additionally, the dedicated volunteers have been restricted in their numbers and activities, leaving the park with no volunteers on site for approximately 5 months of 2020, due to lockdowns and other restrictions. This, coupled with the last 12 months seeing the highest visitor numbers ever recorded at Ham Hill, has left the small ranger team depleted, with important work still needing to be done.
We are thrilled to welcome Ben, Edd, and Izzi to the team! They are already making a huge difference at Ham Hill working alongside our long-standing Head Ranger Paul McNeill, who many visitors to the park already know well. Over the next few months, they will help make sure that our most vulnerable habitats, wildlife, and the Iron Age hillfort itself are protected, and will also be working to repair damage to our path network so that visitors are able to safely access the country park. 

We are super proud to have them on board to preserve and nurture this wonderful heritage site. Please do give them a wave and a hello if you see them out and about at Ham Hill. And if you can't visit this wonderful place right now, you can still feel part of it via the Ham Hill Country Park Facebook page. The team regularly share news and updates and glorious photos, so make sure you follow them and get your fix!
Hedgelaying at Yeovil Country Park

Over the coming months, you may notice our rangers laying sections of hedgerow through Yeovil Country Park.

Hedge laying is a skill that promotes new growth to the hedge, which in turn benefits a wide variety of species such as Lesser Celandine, Wild Primrose, Wrens, and Dormice. If the hedge is allowed to grow unmanaged it will eventually become a tree line. Every 7 to 14 years, depending on the species we lay the hedgerows.

Did you know there are approximately 15 colloquial hedge laying styles? We tend to use South of England or Devon/Dorset style through the parks.
The rangers recently laid this stretch at Penn Hill Yeovil, using the South of England style which will still provide a screen for the houses on the other side of the road.

You can learn more about hedgelaying and regional styles at the National Hedgelaying Society website
Or watch this charming video to see how to lay a hedge South of England style!
If you are interested in learning more about hedgelaying or getting involved in hedgelaying projects in South Somerset contact our environment team at here
South Somerset Parish Environment Champions
Parish Environment Champion Events - Dates for your diary
We work with Parish Environment Champions to create a more connected and sustainable South Somerset together.

Further to our recent virtual sessions towards the end of last year, we will be continuing with these during 2021.

Upcoming sessions for your diary are:
MARCH Date to be confirmed

SSDC Community Grants For Environment Projects.

Come along to find out how you can apply for an SSDC Community Grant for environment projects where you are and more information about other grant funding to explore.
21 APRIL 2021 7pm

Somerset Waste Partnership - Recycle More Workshop

Be a Recycle More ambassador for your community. The new way of recycling is coming to South Somerset in June, so make sure you're in the know. We will be welcoming Micky Green from Somerset Waste Partnership who will explain how Recycle More works and answer questions.
Look out for the invitations and zoom link in your inbox.

The purpose of these get-togethers is to share knowledge and ideas, showcase what green initiatives Parish Environment Champions are doing, ask the experts with guest speakers, develop relationships and connect neighbouring parishes with each other. Our aim is to work together to advance South Somerset’s environmental and ecological resilience. 
Curry Rivel Call Out To Recruit Parish Environment Champions

If you're a Parish Council who needs inspiration on how to recruit Parish Environment Champions we'd recommend looking at Curry Rivel Online who put out a great call to action to recruit Environment Champions in their parish. Check it out here.

We particularly need champions from Parishes in Area East as we only have 12 Champions to represent their Parish Council from the 47 Area East parishes. 
If you would like to join our Parish Environment Champion network and make a real difference where you live, we'd love to hear from you. Please get in touch at 
Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action GroupTree Planting

Despite driving rain and high winds, Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action succeeded in their ambitious target of planting 230 trees last autumn.

Over two days of intense planting the volunteers could be seen coming and going, grappling with spades, stakes, saplings, and mud, sustained only by chocolate brownies and their vision of a just and sustainable future for all. The planting took place on the other side of the fence to Milborne Port’s spacious sports and recreation ground. They were most grateful to Robert and Richard Hunt for making the land available. The native hedgerow trees were chosen for their natural resilience and their value to a diversity of wildlife.

Trees can lock up carbon for centuries and have the potential to make a significant contribution to the fight against climate change. They also provide a habitat for thousands of species, prevent flooding, help provide us with clean air and water, and can even help protect our mental health. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the living soils on which we depend all rest on nature’s economy. Increasing our tree cover is vital to restoring and maintaining nature’s health. Maintaining and restoring existing hedges is every bit as important as planting new ones: a well-looked after hedge is an important wildlife habitat and also a vital corridor for wildlife, especially as the climate changes.

Government targets include planting 1.5 million trees by 2050, but we need to act long before then. Milborne Port Climate and Nature Group will continue to act with urgency in addressing the crisis we all face. If you would like to help please contact them.

To inspire more of us to think about hedges, they recommend watching this brilliant video on hedges called Hedgerow Project Film Final made by Watlington Climate Action Group. Watch here

Photo credit: by Steve and Karen Webber
First Solar Streets Installations in Bruton and Castle Cary

Last month saw the first installations of solar PV panels under the Solar Streets BrutonCaryPlus scheme in Bruton and Castle Cary. Bruton’s first installation included a battery which enables the residents to use a greater proportion of the electricity generated by the solar PV panels.

Solar Streets BrutonCaryPlus is a scheme where residents and businesses in Bruton, Castle Cary and the surrounding area, up to five miles away, can buy discounted solar PV and generate clean electricity, cut carbon emissions and have lower bills. For each installation, a donation is made towards local environmental projects. Solar Streets BrutonCaryPlus is a partnership between PV installers IDDEA, sales and marketing organisation The Green Group, Bruton Town Council, Castle Cary Town Council and One Planet Bruton community group.
The installers, IDDEA, have completed over 800 PV installations across the south west and more than 100 installations under the Solar Streets scheme in Frome and other towns. One Planet Bruton has helped to bring it to Bruton and the surrounding area.
There are online Zoom Q&A sessions to explain Solar Streets. If you live or do business within five miles of the centre of Bruton or Castle Cary, see here for more information and to book a survey.
Green Business
Apply to be listed in the new SSDC Great Green Directory, a one-stop-shop where South Somerset consumers can find local trusted sustainable, and environmentally friendly businesses, to help them make eco and ethical choices when choosing products and services. The directory will be showcased on our new environment website which is coming soon!

If you are a business or know one who has fantastic eco credentials then we would love to hear from you. It's free to list, just fill out the questionnaire here.
Get Your Business Eco Fit With A Carbon Reduction Business Grant
There's still time to apply for a Business Carbon Reduction grant of between £500 and £1,000 to help improve your business's carbon footprint. The grant is being made available by the five councils in Somerset as part of the Climate Emergency Strategy.

Check out the Guidelines and apply for this grant here
Trees as Infrastructure & Doughnut Economics

Check out this interview with Kate Raworth, an economist whose research focuses on the unique social and ecological challenges of the twenty-first century. She teaches at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, where she is a Senior Visiting Research Associate, and she is a Senior Associate of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Author of Doughnut Economics, an economic model that balances between essential human needs and planetary boundaries.

This interview is about rethinking the way we look at infrastructure to highly value and mimic the ecosystems - filmed at Trees as Infrastructure Workshop by Dark Matter Labs.
Education and Courses
Fully Funded Introduction To Domestic Home Retrofit Course

The Retrofit Academy is offering FREE places on their Level 2 Domestic Retrofit course. Retrofit is a complete approach to making homes more energy-efficient, focusing on the fabric of the house first including the walls, roof, floors, windows, and doors, to strategies for ventilation, heating efficiency, and cooling in the summer months.

Learn how to contribute to green homes on this 3-day e-learning course is aimed at:

  • Those not currently in education, employment or training
  • New entrants to the industry with little or no understanding of domestic retrofit
  • Existing installers with experience but who do not hold any qualifications in domestic retrofit
The course is 21 hours of e-learning time and when complete awards a Nationally recognised NOCN Level 2 Qualification.
Those completing the course will be provided with a well-rounded induction into the world of energy efficiency and domestic retrofit. You will gain an understanding of what retrofit is, what it’s supposed to achieve, and the role you can play in delivering successful outcomes.

Places are available to book until 31 March 2021 and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Secure your free place here
Green Initiatives We Love
The Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund

(NEIRF) supports the government’s goals in the 25-year environment plangreen finance strategy, and 10 point plan for a green industrial revolution. It aims to stimulate private investment and market-based mechanisms that improve and safeguard our domestic natural environment by helping projects get ready for investment.

Nature projects in England that tackle climate change, create and restore habitats, or improve water quality could benefit from a new £10 million fund to help them both deliver environmental benefits and attract private sector investment. 

The Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund will provide grants of up to £100,000 to environmental groups, local authorities, businesses, and other organisations to help them get specialist advice, engage investors and build capacity to develop their nature projects to the point where they can attract and repay the private investment. 

Applicants have until 26 March to apply. Application forms and guidance can be found on During the application window, two workshops bookable via Eventbrite will be held on 25 February and 3 March for potential applicants to ask questions about the application process.
NHS Forest - Grants for Growing Forests For Health

Is your local Gp or health organisation aware of the NHS Forest grants to make green spaces available for health purposes? NHS Forest works with healthcare professionals and organisations to make green spaces available as well as carry out practical work on first-hand links between health and the environment. 

Funded by the National Lottery, The NHS Forest was developed by a collaboration of many partners from environment and health. The governance and coordination of the project is by The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare. The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare is expanding its Green Space for Health Programme with new funding from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

Get Involved
NHS staff, patients, and the local community all have key roles to play in the NHS Forest project.

Find out more here
Ground Control launches £5m sustainability impact venture fund

Ground Control is devoting 5% of annual profits to the Evergreen Fund
– a £5m fund dedicated to supporting environmental initiatives and carbon sequestration. This new fund will provide seed and growth capital to selected start-ups and social enterprises.

If you are a local early stage company or social enterprise that is focused on delivering measurable, beneficial and sustainable environmental impact then here's what you need to do to apply for a grant. Find out more here

We want to hear from new businesses too!

SSDC are building a directory of eco businesses which will be listed on our new environment website which is coming soon! It will be known as The Great Green Directory. It's free to list so tell us about your new start-up business and its great eco-credentials! Drop us a line at to tell us what your doing or dive right in and fill out the questionnaire to apply to be listed in The Great Green Directory here
Spring Clean Your Life and Go Green

More and more of us are quite happy to switch and save when it comes to utilities and everyday providers, but how many of us think about how green those companies are?

Check out the Ethical Consumer website and look at ways you can do things differently such as:-

Bank sustainably

Switching bank accounts to one such as Triodos, Monzo or Co-Op who unlike many other banks, don't fund fossil fuels, tobacco, fast-fashion or weapons, and ammunition.

Switch to a Renewable Energy Supplier

Switching to green energy is one of the easiest and most impactful things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Big Clean Switch is a free energy comparison service, to compare deals from the UK’s best green energy suppliers. They also verify the claims of all the companies that they work with to ensure that they’re greenwash-free and the real deal when it comes to sustainability.

SSDC are supporting the 2020 Government Local Electricity Bill and will be aiming to purchase our energy from local renewable generators.

Use a green search engine

Not all search engines are the same. Check out which ones plant trees or donate to environmental charities every time you search online.

The SSDC Environment team likes to use Ecosia to help fund global tree planting.
Green Titbits

22 February to
7 March. 

There are many ways you can get involved in Fair Trade Fortnight, from joining an online festival to spreading the word on social media. “For two weeks each year at the end of February and start of March, thousands of individuals, companies, and groups across the UK come together to share the stories of the people who grow our food and drinks and who grow the cotton in our clothes, people who are often exploited and underpaid.
Get involved here... By the way dressing up as a banana is optional!

This Good Earth
Robert Golden’s provocative documentary This Good Earth is set to shake the foundations of our trust in the safety of much of modern farming and our food.
The film, beautifully shot in Dorset, and two years in the making, brings together farmers, scientists, ecologists and expert academics, to contest the disturbing influence that agrichemical giants exert over the farming industry, and warns that the way we currently grow our food could effectively kill us unless huge changes are made in how we treat our land and other species. 

Watch the trailer below and purchase your screening for £4.99 here
Name that tune!
So hopefully you took part in the Big Garden Bird Watch last month and saw lots of beautiful British birds, but would you know them by sound? If you closed your eyes would you know who was calling the tune? Find out how many bird songs you know with the RSPB bird song identifier here.
...And after the lovely birdsong our final piece is this eco inspired sea shanty from Nick Wyke

No Birds in the air no fish in the sea....
Inspired by the sea shanty resurgence of early 2021, song writer and musician Nick Wyke decided to write a post-apocalyptic answer... Many shanties revolve around nature and natural products - fishing, cotton, whaling, sugar - Nick's shanty imagines a shanty written 100 years from now when none of those natural commodities remain if we carry on our descent into ecological craziness...
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