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
A belated Happy New Year to you all.

A challenging start to the new year in a third lockdown but I trust you are all staying safe and keeping well. I'm staying positive knowing that spring is just a breath away when our beautiful natural environment will come to life. I hope you can join me in focussing on that and look forward to the hope and joy that it brings.

No matter what, our journey to being carbon neutral by 2030 remains our priority and we're already working on some exciting projects for this year. We are determined to keep the momentum going to meet the key milestones set out on the environment delivery plan. Let's do this!

Best eco wishes Sarah x
SSDC Green Initiatives
New Year - New Projects!
Despite lockdown 3.0, we are determined to continue with environmental initiatives that can be carried out safely to keep the momentum going to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.

Here are some projects we're already working on for 2021:

  • Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure roll-out
  • Open Spaces Strategy
  • Recycle More rollout across South Somerset this June
  • Potential extension of the E Scooter trial in Chard and Crewkerne
  • 1000's more trees planted across our estates.
  • Support for Businesses to help them improve their carbon footprint
  • A Great Green Directory of sustainable local businesses in South Somerset for consumers to make ethical eco choices.
  • South Somerset Parish Environment Champion seminars.

We''ll keep you posted as these projects progress.
Are you mad about the environment? Then you'll be a great SSDC Parish Environment Champion!

We're very lucky to have over 50 Parish Environment Champions across our parishes in South Somerset who are passionate about making where they live more sustainable.

We aspire to have at least one representative for each parish, so will still need a further 77 parishes to select individuals who can partake in this great opportunity. We see a significant absence of parishes in Area East with only 12 of the 47 having selected a champion, so would welcome those remaining to get in touch on the email below. 
 
If you would like to join us, we'd love to hear from you. Please get in touch at ssdcenvironment@southsomerset.gov.uk.
 
We work with Parish Environment Champions to create a more connected and sustainable South Somerset together. We are running regular seminars over 2021, where we get together via zoom to share knowledge and ideas. We also send regular emails to inform of funding and resources available to parishes. Our aspiration is to develop relationships between the champions and ourselves to advance South Somerset’s environmental and ecological resilience. 
The Great Parish Tree Giveaway - 715 new trees will be planted
The Great Parish Tree Giveaway has been completed and we want to thank all those who sent in applications for the scheme.

715 trees will be going out to our successful parishes on Tuesday 26th of January, where we hope to get some images of the trees so we can create some ‘feel-good’ communications out to our communities.
 
We have for the first time at the request of certain parishes created packs that are more suited for saturated ground, which will increase the likelihood of the trees reaching maturity where they can have those beneficial impacts on the area. 
Green Business
Calling All Eco-Friendly Businesses.
Make sure you're listed in the new SSDC GREAT GREEN DIRECTORY
The new Great Green Directory is 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 featured on our main SSDC website and our brand new environment website which is coming soon!
The aim is to support our local eco-friendly businesses and help consumers to choose sustainable solutions to help reduce the carbon consumption footprint.
If you are a local business with great eco credentials and you'd like to be listed in our new Great Green Directory, we would love to hear from you. Whether you're a building firm or a coffee shop, we want to hear from all types of eco-friendly businesses. If you would like to apply for your business included in the DIrectory please complete our questionnaire here.
Get Your Business Eco Fit With A Carbon Reduction Business Grant
Businesses in Somerset can apply for a carbon reduction grant of between £500 and £1,000 to help improve their carbon footprint. The grant is being made available by the five councils in Somerset as part of the Climate Emergency Strategy.

To enable businesses to explore all the possibilities, we have produced a Carbon Audit Toolkit for Businesses which details websites that offer help and advice from a variety of agencies and sources.

Guidelines have been produced about who can apply for a grant, what sort of projects might qualify and what assistance can be applied for. To apply for this grant click here
Our Planet Our Business
The role business can play in restoring our planet
"Waste is just a resource in the wrong place." "Sustainability is now the only business plan." "The business sector has no option but to be a force for change." These are the words that revolutionary business people are quoting in this World Wildlife Fund and Netflix produced film. It focusses on the role business has in restoring the planet and environment. It is part of the ‘Our Planet’ series which is the most-watched documentary Netflix has ever produced. The film shows the significant role businesses must play in restoring the balance of nature including embracing a circular economy. Whether you're a business or a consumer it's an insightful and hopeful film.
Donate IT equipment to save CO2 & support lockdown life

It’s estimated every household has around 5 or more old IT tech, mobile phones, game devices etc. gathering dust and wasting finite, high embodied energy, precious earth resources. Reusing these items wherever possible reduces demand for new IT products and the CO2 and environmental impact in making and buying a new product.
In addition, Coronavirus has thrown up a digital divide for many people, which is excluding them from vital home education and social support due to a lack of suitable IT equipment at home.

You can help tackle these issues by donating unwanted IT equipment to be refurbished or recycled to support for who need it most.

South Somerset resident Simon Barfoot is a specialist in IT recycling since 1995 and his business, Blackmore IT, will upcycle and renovate this equipment to give students and vulnerable people access to affordable IT tech for home learning and virtual communication.
Simon is appealing to all groups, businesses, and individuals to donate their unwanted laptops, tablets, and other ICT products. Blackmore IT reconditions these by wiping all data before upgrading and donating them to home learners who have no or limited access to essential school lessons, homework, and home study.

Simon told us: “Many people replace their computer technologies rather than refurbishing them, which is viable in many cases, but it is better for the environment to reuse rather than replace. People are unsure of the safest and best way to put this equipment into the recycling system for many reasons. Blackmore IT guarantees complete and certified 100% data destruction and then does everything possible to get the equipment back into use for the benefit of others in the community. This is more important than ever at the moment and we urge South Somerset residents to get in touch and if possible help organise a Covid Safe“Tech Amnesty” drop off event.”

If you have an unwanted computer or device, know someone in need of one or interested in helping arrange a Tech Amnesty please contact Simon by email DonateIT@r3cycle.co.uk
Find out more at www.re3cycle.co.uk
Parish Online Public Map Tool
Has your parish subscribed yet?

Lots of local councils are signing up to the Parish Online digital mapping tool, an essential and engaging tool for viewing and printing maps all the way to storing asset registers and producing neighbourhood plans.

SSDC has purchased a mapping solution called XMAP. Parish Online is from the same company as XMAP (by Geoxphere) linking mapped data together sending information in both directions. Once in place, it will mean SSDC can provide a mapping from our data that can be layered onto Parish Online maps, giving Parish online users and communities a wealth of information at their fingertips.

Around 20 Parishes in Somerset are already on board.

Graham Stoddart-Stones of Long Sutton Parish Council told us:

“Parish Online is great for collecting and analysing information about a council area. Councils can create any number of their own data layers, as well as contributing to collaborative ‘National Layers’. On the environmental front, data layers can include things like tree mapping, wildflower areas, badger sets, and protected wildlife, the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of buildings, houses, or communities served by heat pumps and other renewable energy technologies, and also map renewable power potentials on buildings and land for solar farms and wind turbines. The potential is unlimited, and depends only on the needs of each council

Tristram Cary, Chairman of Geoxphere (the company behind XMAP and Parish Online) added:

“Parishes are the most important tier of Local Government because they are at the sharp end of delivering services to their residents. Parish Online (already used by over 1300 councils across the UK) is designed to help parishes to be more efficient by providing easy access to all the data they need, and to share it with their district and county. Parish Online therefore works best when a district cooperates by sharing its data with Parish Online users, and we are delighted that SSDC is now supporting this vision.”
 
The cost to subscribe is as little as £50 per year and you can try before you buy with a 30-day free trial.

Free Parish Online Demo!

Local Parish Online champion, Graham Stoddart-Stones of Long Sutton Parish Council invites you to attend one of his regular Parish Online demo sessions.

Book a 25th Jan here and for subsequent demo dates book here
Education and Courses
Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)
Zero Carbon Britain online courses for 2021
The science says we must, the technology says we can, time to say we will!

Zero Carbon Britain: Live online courses, Zero Carbon Britain: Live online courses, taking place 27 – 28 January 2021, and 29 – 30 April 2021
 
CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain project offers the hard data and confidence required for visualising a future where we have risen to the demands of climate science. It helps to reduce fear and misunderstandings and open new, positive, solutions-focused conversations.
 
The new report published in 2019, Zero Carbon Britain: Rising to the Climate Emergency, incorporates the very latest developments in science and technology to show that we can create a zero carbon Britain using only proven technology.
 
During this two-day course you will explore all aspects of climate solutions and scenarios presented in the research. Live lectures will cover a range of topics from renewable energy and energy efficiency to diets and land-use, looking at how these can work together to help us build a zero-carbon future. Online workshops will enable discussion and debate among participants on catalysing action across all areas of society.
You can create the change

  • The cost is £75 per person (must be over 16 years of age)
  • There are also at least 5 free places on each course.
  • 
For everything you need to know and to book your place click here
The Path To Net Zero:
Event Series

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has published its recommendation on the level of the Sixth Carbon Budget in December 2020. It sets the path to the UK’s Net Zero emissions target in 2050, as the first carbon budget to be set into law following that commitment.

The CCC is holding an online series of events looking at how the UK can get to Net Zero and the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Find out more and book your place here
Rewilding To Achieve Biodiversity Webinar.

Our environment colleagues recently attended a seminar hosted by RSK Wilding to learn more about how landowners can use rewilding to achieve biodiversity net gain and other natural capital benefits. They found it really useful and want to share it with you. If you have land and want to be involved in rewilding and find out more about the Government grants.

Here is a link to the recording for you to watch at your leisure and please feel free to forward it to other landowners you think may be interested.
Britain Talks Climate Webinar and Toolkit

Engaging the British public on climate change.

Britain Talks Climate is an evidence-based toolkit designed to support any organisation that wants to engage the British public on climate change by building narratives that resonate with a diverse range of values and everyday concerns is critical for the long-term goal of deepening public engagement – and keeping it there.

It provides an evidence-based, shared and strategic understanding of the British public and – against a backdrop of growing concern about polarisation – identifies ways to engage across the whole of society.

Climate Outreach is a team of social scientists and communication specialists working to widen and deepen public engagement with climate change.
Through social research, practical guides, and consultancy services, the charity helps organisations communicate about climate change in ways that resonate with the values of their audiences and builds a social mandate for climate action.

You can see the recording here, along with the online tool-kit.
George Monbiot: Dying from Consumption
Wed 10 Feb 2021
7:00 PM - 9:30 PM GMT Online, YouTube

Covid has been the all-consuming topic of 2020. As we emerge from the pandemic, we will have a unique opportunity to reflect on how consumerism itself is at the heart of all our global crises.

It is essential that this issue is not lost in the ‘fog of war’ over Covid and party politics. It is not enough to resume ‘business as usual’ in the face of growing evidence that we must tackle global heating; addressing what and how much we consume is an urgent priority for individuals, corporations and governments, in our response to the crisis of consumerism that threatens the planet.

Join George Monbiot on a live stream involving a talk and interactive Q and A with the audience, a talk from Mac Macartney, the founder of Embercombe and music from Mobius Loop and Tallulah Rendall.

Click here to find out more and sign up
Green Initiatives We Love
Langport Transport Group Gets Funding To Explore Reopening Of Railway Station

We're delighted to hear that the Langport Transport Group (LTG), a subsidiary group of Transition Langport , has been successful with its application for the feasibility study funding to the Department for Transport under the Restoring Your Railway Fund. LTG applied for funding for a feasibility study to look at the possibility of a railway station being reopened in the Langport and Somerton area. All the original railway stations in the area had been closed in the Beeching cuts of the early 1960s. LTG has been awarded £50,000 towards the feasibility study.

The announcement was made on November 26 and a full list of the successful projects is available on the Department for Transport website by searching for the Restoring Your Railway Fund. The community transport group will now work with officials from the DfT as well as local, district and county councils together with Network Rail and First Great Western in order to take the project forward. This will take some time and there is a lot of work ahead, including sourcing the final 25% of the funds needed, but the group is delighted to have been successful in obtaining the funding for 75% of the feasibility study cost. 

Congratulations to everyone involved. We wish you every success with this project.
Empowering you to fight climate change

How much of an imprint is each of us making on the environment. Want to find out yours?

Pawprint is an online tool that helps you measure, understand and reduce your carbon footprint from the palm of your hand
Developed by Mike Berners-Lee author of How Bad are Bananas - The Carbon Footprint of everything, you can see how your lifestyle is measured in carbon and take challenges to bring it down.

The RSPB BIG Garden Birdwatch

Are you ready for the excitement of Big Garden Birdwatch 2021? Whether you’re new to the Birdwatch, a regular or an expert birdwatcher, help make this the best Birdwatch yet.

Britain's birds are counting on you to count them in over three days from 29th - 31 January.

Help the RSPB create a census of our wild birds so they can see how they're doing. To do your bit click here.
February 1st is Imbolc Day - (the Pagan first day of spring to all you hippies!)

It's already been a very long and difficult winter and spring can't come soon enough. Rather than hold out for March 20th for the first day of spring, why not celebrate Imbolc Day on February 1st?
This is the pagan first day of spring and marks the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It can fall between the 2nd & 7th of February when calculated as the midpoint between the astronomical Winter Solstice and the astronomical Spring Equinox. This year it falls on February 1st. We're up for anything that shortens winter thanks!
Somerset Levels
World Wetlands Day

February 2nd is World Wetlands Day.

Wetlands are essential habitats globally with 40% of all species relying on freshwater wetlands, despite them only covering less than 1% of the world’s surface.
Open wetlands make up approx. 11.5% of the land in the UK, this is significant when compared to urban and developed areas coming in at a very similar 11.6%.

The Somerset Levels and Moors are the UK’s largest wetland area at over 650 km2, known across the world for their spectacular birdlife and significant archaeological remains. It has the largest lowland population of breeding wading birds and is a great place to hear bittern, see starling murmurations and watch otters. The Avalon Marshes is home to the world’s oldest known wooden trackway and ancient lake villages.

Reimagining the Levels was set up by a group of people who all live on the Somerset Levels and care passionately about its future. The devastating effects of the floods in 2013/14 to individuals, communities, the economy and the environment demonstrated the pressing need for a more joined-up approach that looks at the causes and solutions to flooding across the entire catchment. The world’s changing climate poses a critical challenge to the people and landscape of the Somerset Levels. Brexit too will have dramatic and far reaching implications but we believe that these changes could provide the ideal opportunity for a new vision for rural land use and its economy in terms of food production, farming support, environmental protection and rural development. They have published a comprehensive report which details their vision. Read here
How Water Fit Is Your Home?

#GetWaterFit is Wessex Water’s handy water calculator that can help you save water, save money on your water bill, and raise money for charity.

Leaky loos and dripping taps? Is your home waterfit? Click on the link below and take the survey to find out. Wasted water has a carbon cost as it uses a lot of energy to clean and pump water for our use. Water is a precious resource ore so every year as we experience more and more droughts.

Wessex Water is also offering free water saving devices which can be ordered on completion of the survey and will be delivered directly to your home.

And, if you're serious about getting your home as waterfit as can be, you can also book a free Waterfit coaching session with one of Wessex Waters experts who will help you save every drop possible!
Green Titbits
BBC Horizon
Feast to Save the Planet

Watch on BBC i-player

MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace and mathematician Dr Hannah Fry take over a restaurant and invite five special guests to enjoy a dinner party with a difference, where they will be scored on the carbon footprint of every dish they choose. Food accounts for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, so making informed choices about what we eat is more important than ever for s to enjoy food that doesn't cost the earth.

You can watch via BBC i-Player and see more info here
My Octopus Teacher
One To Watch
My Octopus Teacher Netflix

Wanting to reconnect with nature after burning out with work, film-maker and naturalist Craig Foster starts freediving daily in the undersea kelp forests off Cape Town. One day, he comes across an odd jumble of shells on the sea floor. It transpires to be a common octopus, hiding in plain sight. Viewers of the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 may recognise the footage. The octopus and its protective “shell suit” featured in the “Green Seas” episode, explained by David Attenborough as never-before-seen behaviour.

Foster collaborated on shooting the sequence with his friend, Blue Planet 2 cameraman Roger Horrocks. The pair have spent many years documenting South Africa’s kelp forests (more recently, as part of the non-profit Sea Change Project) and are listed as joint directors of photography on My Octopus Teacher. But that back story is omitted in favour of a close crop on Foster’s personal relationship with the octopus, and what he learns on his daily visits to her world.

Both fascinating and moving you will be thinking about this one for days after watching.
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We want you to feel part of Get SuSSed and get involved. If you have any questions, an environment story to tell, news, views or ideas please get in touch at ssdcenvironment@southsomerset.gov.uk