Welcome to our September issue of Get SuSSed, read on for all the latest eco news from SSDC and across the district, grants, learning, events, recommended reads, hedgehogs and more!
Hello from Councillor Sarah Dyke
our Portfolio Holder for Environment

What a beautiful month September has been. I hope you've been able to enjoy it. It's a new start for many and for others it is harvest and the end of the growing year. Yes, autumn is coming, and that brings its own joy, but for the time being, summer lives on, so enjoy everything nature gives us while it lasts.

Earlier this month I attended Shepton Beauchamp Climate event to represent SSDC and what we're doing to reach our goal to be carbon neutral by 2030. It was great to talk to so many people about environmental matters and hear their views.

I'm also very pleased we have launched our Business Environment Survey to find out where our local businesses are at with their carbon footprint and environmental actions so we can find out where support is needed, along with building our Great Green Directory of eco friendly businesses in South Somerset.

We're also preparing our rewilding sites for next year. I have received a lot of positivity from residents who have enjoyed seeing the wildflower conservation areas across our district and the beauty and surprises they've brought to communities.
Best Eco Wishes
Sarah x
SSDC Green News
No Mow Consevation Trial Review

Having seen the overwhelming success of our No Mow Trial this summer, where we developed wildflower verges on selected areas of SSDC-owned land, we are now in the process of reviewing how the trial went, looking at where we can increase and improve, and how we can extend this offer further next year. In line with this trial we are reviewing our land management across our estate to place an emphasis on new habitat creation whilst also keeping all the other benefits our green spaces provide.
 
We've already begun cutting and removing the arisings from the No Mow and Bulb areas across the District and now have a machine to prepare the bigger areas. This will help maintain balance between faster growing grasses and slower developing wildflowers, by reducing the nutrients of the soil and limiting the grasses ability to outcompete the other more beneficial flowering species.
This very morning, our Portfolio Holder for Environment Councillor Sarah Dyke met up with Darren Squibb and Jon Chleal from our Environmental Services Team, who were strimming and preparing the No Mow verge conservation area in Cucklington. This work will encourage more wildflowers to grow next year.
We want to work with parishes and landowners to progress this on their land, creating a rich mosaic of habitats throughout our district benefiting both residents and wildlife.

We're holding a virtual wildflower seminar this evening with experts and parish representatives to take this forward. Details are further on.
Green Business Survey – Addressing the Climate Emergency

SSDC is keen to understand where our business community is at with addressing the climate and ecological emergency, and to gain information that will help us identify where we can offer advice and support going forward.

We are asking local businesses to take part in a short survey designed with specific focus on this topic. The survey closes on 5th November.
 
We know many businesses across the district are already working hard to reduce their carbon emissions, but also know others face barriers and challenges or want to learn more. We’re encouraging South Somerset businesses from all sectors and varying stages of reducing their carbon footprint to take part. Your input will give us valuable insight and understanding to help us advise and support where needed, and of course, share best practice. Thank you!
 
And if you’re eager to learn more, there is a wealth of practical advice available to improve your carbon footprint:

Big Community Energy Switch: Better Offers Together
 
The Big Community Switch is a group buying platform so people can benefit from the bargaining power of a large group and receive 100% renewable energy at a lower tariff. Once you have registered, Big Community Energy hold an energy auction where suppliers compete for the opportunity to offer you the lowest energy tariff. There’s no need to compare different tariffs as you’ll receive a personal offer.

Why join?

  • Taking part is free;
  • It is simple and quick to do;
  • There is no obligation to switch; and
  • 100% renewable electricity.

The deadline for signing up is the 11th of October.

And while you are waiting why not check out the best renewable energy supply for your home and business – see what’s available and get a best price quote via the Big Clean Switch.
SSDC Partnership Offers Home Improvement & Energy Efficiency Loans
 

SSDC has a long established partnership with Lendology, an FCA regulated financial services company based in Taunton, to offer home improvement and energy efficiency loans to our local residents.

From improving energy efficiency, installing renewable energy technology, undertaking retrofit projects and supporting landlords to meet Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, Lendology are able to provide a loan that meets your requirements.

Making your home energy efficient not only reduces your bills and saves you money, but it is also good for the environment. An energy-efficient home can lower your carbon footprint, reduce heat loss and potentially increase the value of your home. Renewable energy is one part of the solution but making smaller energy improvements to your home can also create a big difference.

For more details, please visit the Lendology website here.
Queen’s Green Canopy – Plant a Tree for the Jubilee!

Next year marks the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and SSDC are looking to support communities in their celebrations across the District marking this occasion.
 
One element of the celebrations is a tree planting initiative called ‘The Queen’s Green Canopy’. Everyone across the UK is being invited to plant trees from November 2021, when the tree-planting season begins, through to the end of the Jubilee year.

Free trees are available to schools, community groups, and Parish Councils from the Woodland Trust and can be applied for here.

The Queen's Green Canopy will create a network of individual trees, avenues, copses and whole woodlands in honour of The Queen's service, with every tree planted bringing benefits for people, wildlife and climate.

If you have the space (and landowner permission) to participate in the tree planting initiative and would like support scoping an appropriate planting scheme, including funding and sourcing trees then please also email the SSDC Environment team as we would like to compile a list and find out how we can help: SSDCEnvironment@SouthSomerset.Gov.Uk

All projects are asked to register via the Queen's Green Canopy website so an inventory of plantings can be maintained to mark the occasion.
Did you enjoy a summer event at Ham Hill?

There were some fantastic activities at Ham Hill over the summer. we hope you were able to go and had a wonderful time. If you did, we'd love to get your feedback to know how we did so please let us know what you thought! Follow this link to complete a short survey so that we can plan even better events for 2022. #feedback #wildlife
Recycle More is recycling (a lot) more!

Somerset's new Recycle More service has already delivered thousands of extra tonnes of recycling and proved extremely popular among residents.
 
Launched in Mendip in October last year and here in South Somerset at the end of June, it is estimated that the expanded weekly collections have produced more than 6,000 extra tonnes of recycling – including more than 1,000 tonnes of extra plastic.

Great that it's not going to landfill, but hopefully now plastic is being separated people can see how much they are using and choose to refuse to reduce plastic waste.
Parish Environment Champions
Parish Environment Champions Wildflower Seminar tonight!

We're looking forward to welcoming our parish environment representatives to our online Wildflower Seminar via zoom this evening 7pm - 8.30 pm. You should have received an invite and link to join in your inbox, or you can use this link to join.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/93891008286

Meeting ID: 938 9100 8286

Come along and hear from Plantlife expert Dr Katy Petty, our horticultural lead at SSDC and Stoford and Barwick Parish Environment Champion Jem Langworthy, who will tell us how he created space to go wild in his Parish.
The Levels SCOP26+ Climate Forum 6th Nov 2021
 
In November, more than 190 world leaders will come together for the United Nations COP26 climate summit in Glasgow to try and agree urgent action on climate change.
 
To support this global effort, the Levels Climate Forum is inviting all Somerset parishes to the SCOP26+ Climate Conference at the Edgar Hall in Somerton on Sat 6 Nov from 1pm-6pm.
 
SCOP26+ is a free event that will bring together parish representatives to discuss practical measures that will better prepare the county for a rapidly-changing climate. There will be talks on land management and climate adaptation, along with workshops on a number of topics.
 
Rupert Farthing of the Carymoor Trust will talk about the support the charity gives to schools and Parishes and there will be a DIY guide to making a low cost sensor to measure air pollution levels in your parish, plus more ideas and project examples. 
 
There will also be ample time to network with other parishes, find common ground and share ideas. You can send a councillor, an environment champion, or a community representative.
 
SCOP26+ stands for the Somerset Coalition of Parishes on Climate Change.
 
RSVP | SCOP26+ organiser Mo Fletcher
email | mo.fletcher@somertontowncouncil.gov.uk
Mad about the environment?
Your parish needs you!

It's brilliant that there are already 68 Environment Champions representing their parishes across the district, however, there are still some gaps where representation would be welcomed.

You do not need to be a parish councillor to become a champion, although links to the local council may be useful.

Champions have engaged with us in a variety of ways whether it be accepting tree packs, nominating no mow spaces, participating in events or providing content for Get SuSSed, and in some places we have champions sharing their own particular areas of expertise.

You can view our map of environment champions on the South Somerset Environment website here.

If you see a need for a champion where you live and would like to nominate yourself or someone in your Parish we'd love to hear from you. Please get in touch with us at ssdcenvironment@southsomerset.gov.uk
Let's Talk and Tackle Climate Change

Visit the new forum on the South Somerset Environment Website, a space where we can interact, share knowledge, ideas, case studies, and photos or ask questions.

If you have a story to share, want to start a conversation about a project you're involved in or get started, or anything related to climate and ecological action then please share. Head on over and start or join a conversation.
COP 26
If you are a Town/Parish Council or community group in South Somerset planning an event for COP26 (31st Oct - Nov 12th) please let us know and we'll feature it here!
In Our Community
Retrofit Bruton and Cary gets down to business

Bruton Town Council has announced they have successfully recruited a retrofit officer for their Retrofit Bruton and Cary project which will go live on 4 October 2021. New recruit Justine, is a professionally qualified retrofit co-ordinator who will give impartial advice to homeowners in Bruton, Castle Cary and the surrounding rural parishes about the best and most carbon-efficient way of improving their homes, at the same time as working with local builders to develop their expertise in low-carbon retrofitting. You can read more here.
Reimagining the Levels
‘Plant Trees to Slow the Flow’ – Looking for landowners!

After a successful planting season in 2020/21 (with over 20,000 trees planted across Somerset), Reimagining the Levels are looking to double their total this season and need help from local landowners!

The aim of the project is to Plant Trees to Slow the Flow’ to counteract the damaging effects of sudden and prolonged flooding across Somerset. The project is run in partnership with the Environment Agency and the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group. Applicants are welcomed from the whole of Somerset and will be assessed on their proximity to watercourses. This is a process led by water pathway mapping, and if successful Reimagining the Levels will offer advice on appropriate planting for the landscape, supply free trees, supports and protections along with a small payment for every tree planted.

Reimagining the Levels is also interested in supporting other tree planting schemes, particularly community plantings in schools, recreation grounds, village halls etc., that are not linked to water management. You will find more information here
Helping Hedgehogs

Last year the British hedgehog was officially classified as vulnerable to extinction and on the red list according to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS). There are many ways we can help them survive and thrive. You can start by making your garden a wildlife haven by gardening in a wildlife-friendly way, to can help our spiky companions move around safely and find a home. You can also download a free 'Get creative for hedgehogs' booklet here to find everything you need to know to help our little prickly friends!
Mark Humphrey who works in Support Services here at SSDC is passionate about helping hedgehogs. He told us about how he got started...
"Having made a house for a hedgehog that had got stuck in the garage last year, we became aware of a local rescue centre in South Petherton (Spiky Shire Hedgehog Rescue) via Facebook. This led to us fostering 3 abandoned hoglets after they had been through initial treatment by the rescue centre. We had a secure caged run with a Hedgehog house, made from leftover and recycled timber from other projects. We fed and watered and weighed the hoglets and once over 600 grams, they were ready for release. As a family we feel privileged to have done something to help this endangered species."
Meanwhile, near Castle Cary, resident Poppy Hemmings is working with Prickles Hedgehog Rescue near Cheddar. In April she found a hedgehog and five hoglets when clearing out a barn, and took them to Prickles to be reared. Once they'd reached a good weight they came back and were released in their original habitat along with new hedgehog houses! Look at this video to see how at home they are!
Volunteering
Grow for Good Forum

@Sparksomerset are holding a FREE virtual forum on 13th October for voluntary groups and individuals in Somerset who use growing and gardening to support positive change in their communities. Find out more here
Grants and Funding
New Website Grants Page

You can find all information on grants and funding on the new South Somerset Environment website. Please click here for details, along with details of some key ones below:


  •  Woodland Trust – Offering free trees to Parish Council’s, schools and community groups to plant over the winter 2021/22 as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. For details and to apply, visit here.

  • Together for Our Planet grants - advance notice of a new £2.5 million National Lottery Community Fund grants programme. Grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 are available to locally based UK charitable organisations and social enterprises, including CICs, for small-scale projects that address climate change in their area. The deadline for applications is 18 Nov 2021. Details here.

  • The E-Cargo Bike Grant Fund - grants up to £4,500 for businesses, not-for-profit organisations and local authorities in England to purchase e-Cargo Bikes. Funding is available up to a maximum of £2,500 for a 2-3-wheel e-Cargo Bike, or £4,500 for a 3-wheel e-Cargo Bike (up to 40% of the cost of each bike) Details here.
Green Business
Local Eco-Friendly Business? Get listed in the SSDC Great Green Directory

If you are a South Somerset business with great eco credentials, you can list for FREE in our Great Green Directory where South Somerset residents can go to find local, trusted, sustainable organisations and community groups to help them make eco and ethical choices when choosing products and services. 

You can apply here via our updated form on Citizen Space.
Green Events
South Somerset Environment website events page

You can find information on local events on the new South Somerset Environment website. Please click here for details. Some key ones this month are listed below:

SSDC Wildflower Seminar29th September - hear about creating wildflower verges and our successful No Mow Trials. There will be talks from Plantlife's Dr Kate Petty and SSDC's Horticultural lead. To attend, please email the SSDC Environment Team.

Levels Climate Forum, SCOP26+ Climate Event – 6th November - To support the global effort on Climate Change, the Levels Climate Forum is inviting all Somerset parish councils and community representatives to the SCOP26+ Climate Conference at the Edgar Hall in Somerton on Saturday 6 November from 1pm-6pm.

Milborne Port Climate Action Group – Global Day of Action – 6th November - an event is being organised under the umbrella of Friends of the earth's Global Day of Action on November 6th. If you would like to get involved or attend, please get in touch via email here.
Learn to Scythe Course in South Somerset Honey Pot Farm, South Petherton 16 April 2022

Colin and Julie Comben are hosting a scything course with expert Larry Leventhal from 10am - 4pm on Saturday 16th April 2022. The day will be £60 per person and include teas/coffees and cakes, communal lunch and free weekend camping. For more details please email larryleventhal@hotmail.com
Green Titbits
If you’re worried about the energy crisis, rising costs, or your energy supplier going out of business, you’re not alone and help is at hand.
The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is an independent charity sharing knowledge and experience via their Home Energy Team providing FREE local and impartial energy saving advice. If you’re not sure what to do next, check out the CSE’s top tips here for practical steps you can take here.
No Disposable Cup Day 4th October

Every year in the UK we use 2.5 billion disposable cups! That's 7 million a day! These are mainly coated with plastic to laminate the inside and use plastic lids. It's estimated half a million are dropped on the floor and less than 1% are recycled.

On 4 October it's No Disposable Cup Day where everyone is asked to choose to refuse disposable cups and change their habits by using their own reusable cup or sit in their coffee shop and use the china mugs provided. It's that easy and afterwards every day can be No Disposable Cup day!
Sew Eco Friendly - Debbie Shore at Yeovil Literary Festival

Debbie Shore is the 'Queen of Sewing'. She's been sewing for over 50 years, and has written 22 books inspiring sewers around the world. On the 1st November she will be at the Yeovil Literary Festival, Octagon Theatre Yeovil with her latest book Sew Eco-Friendly; a book that helps you make 25 small but meaningful life swaps to help reduce waste and live more sustainably. For example, making skin-friendly washable pads, beeswax fabric wraps so that you never have to buy single-use plastic food wrap again; making a sturdy shopping tote to replace plastic bags; as well as trading in gift wrap and tape for stylish fabric wraps and gift bags. Admission is £5, click here to find out more and get tickets.
Recommended Reading
Great Adaptations in the shadow of a climate crisis

By Morgan Philips, The Glacier Trust
Recommended by Cara Naden our Environment Specialist.

Climate change haunts the future of humanity, It is unpredictable, fast-growing and scary. Even as we try to tame it, it will re-shape our lives, we will be forced to adapt. The question is how? How well? And at what cost? It is only by embracing adaptation that will we be able to build the solidarity and belonging that can bring us out of the crisis.
How is climate change affecting where you live?

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 email ssdcenvironment@southsomerset.gov.uk or via the forum on the South Somerset Environment website here.
New South Somerset Environment Website

Stay in the know about all things environment in South Somerset.

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You can get in touch about Get SuSSed at ssdcenvironment@southsomerset.gov.uk