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

Autumn has arrived and the colours of nature are simply stunning! It’s been a busy month and the beauty of nature has allowed me to stop and smell the roses as it were, or in my case the trees! 
I recommend this to anyone who is managing a heavy workload to just stop for a moment, find nature and soak it up.

I've been busy with several projects including my recommendation to fellow councillors for SSDC to join the UK100 coalition of local authorities committing us to achieve Net Zero Carbon further and faster than national targets. Full Council unanimously agreed this was an important step for us and voted to join. We also pledged to join the Countryside Climate Network to make sure our rural voice is heard.

COP26 is imminent and I'm looking forward to what I hope are some big steps by our world leaders to mitigate climate change. More locally, I will be attending the Somerset COP26 event being organised by the Levels Climate Forum in Somerton on 6th November with our environment specialist Cara Naden, and we're looking forward to meeting parish representatives and hearing how they are working towards sustainability. If you're going, please come and say hello! I'm also a guest speaker at the CPRE Rewilding Somerset online event on 19th November so I might see you there.
Best Eco Wishes
Sarah x
SSDC Green News
SSDC has joined UK100 and Countryside Climate Network

South Somerset District Council (SSDC) has joined UK100 – a coalition of the most ambitious local leaders in the UK who are committed to achieving Net Zero further and faster than national targets. At Full Council on 21 October, Councillor Sarah Dyke proposed a motion to join UK100, which was supported by members. SSDC joins 112 local authorities who have already taken the UK100 pledge.
Additionally, to make sure our rural voice is heard, we have also joined the Countryside Climate Network (CCN), which is the rural arm of the UK100 network, and currently consists of 28 member Councils. As members of UK100, the CCN are committed to delivering climate action in their communities and amplifying the rural voice as part of our national policy advocacy - bringing the best from cities and the countryside together. 

You can read the full story here.
SSDC Support for CEE Bill

SSDC recently passed a motion pledging its support for the CEE Bill and resolved to invite local members of parliament Marcus Fysh and David Warburton to ask them to take urgent action on the climate and ecological emergency and support the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill in Parliament. The CEE Bill has been developed to address the gaps in current legislation, a framework which will lock policy and action into step with the latest science. It is a private member’s bill drafted by leading UK scientists, academics, economists and lawyers. You can find out more about the CEE Bill and show your support here
Happy 1st Birthday to Yeovil DfT E-Scooter Trial!

Wow! How time flies! It's already been a year since the DfT E-Scooter trial was launched in Yeovil. The trial was initially proposed for one year but has been extended by The Department of Transport for another year to allow them to collect further data outside of lockdowns so they can assess and decide whether to legalise E-Scooters in the UK.
Our partners Zwings, who are the e-scooter operators and fund the trial, report that since the trial began last autumn, riders have covered over 100,000 kilometres (over 62,137 miles) the equivalent cumulative distance as travelling around the equator two and a half times! Given user feedback on modal shift and industry standard data, this represents an equivalent reduction of roughly 4 tonnes of CO2.
Have you tried a Zwings e-scooter yet? They're situated at approximately 60 bays across Yeovil Download the app and find one near you and start your zero carbon journeys around town. You'll also find a list of SSDC FAQ's here.
Latest SSDC Carbon Calculator

In May 2019 we recognised a climate and ecological emergency and committed to be carbon neutral by 2030. To allow us to track our journey to carbon neutrality we calculated our baseline from our 2018-2019 financial year which was 1650.42 tCO2e.
We found we had to reduce our carbon emissions by 10% year on year to get to reach our target of net zero carbon emissions on time.

The latest calculation from 2020-2021 saw a 6% reduction in CO2e, which is lower than our target. Although the period includes times when our offices and leisure centres were closed due to the pandemic, there was increased utilisation of some SSDC buildings due to occupation by Avon & Somerset police 24/7 who now rent part of the Brympton Way building. Also, CO2 emissions from gas usage has increased, influenced by increased use of the Crematorium over the last year. Another factor was during lockdown our Environmental Services and Countryside colleagues had to use separate vehicles to carry out their work in order to be covid safe.

Actions proposed for 2021-2022 will get us back on track. Installation of improved insulation, additional PV and air source heat pumps from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme grant will reduce gas and oil use in our highest use buildings and in turn reduce SSDC's CO2e emissions. Staff will also be encouraged to continue reducing their travel for meetings by replacing them with virtual communication technology wherever possible. Electricity emissions will also decrease due to our switch to a renewable energy tariff. All of these will contribute to us being on target or better next year!

You can view the SSDC carbon calculator infographic here
RHS South West in Bloom Winners!

Yeovil in Bloom is in its 24th year of entering the RHS South West In Bloom Competition. This year the displays have once again been amazing and recently received a prestigious Silver Gilt Award.

The In Bloom initiative is not just about hanging baskets and bedding plants, it recognises the significant value that 'wild' and native planting provides and embracing the recent SSDC Re-wilding and No Mow conservation initiatives with several sites in Yeovil town centre. This includes St John's Churchyard in Yeovil (see image) which has produced pyramid orchids, and on one of the Yeovil roundabouts bee orchids appeared. All in the first year!

Huge congratulations to everyone involved who work so hard to bring this to the town. Our social media went crazy when we posted pictures and the comments were testament to how much the floral displays, community spirit and environmental benefits are appreciated.
You can read them here.

Congratulations also go out to Henstridge, Milborne Port, Crewkerne and Hazelbury Plucknet who also netted a great haul of prizes from In Bloom!
Last chance to complete the SSDC Green Business Survey

A reminder to share our Green Business Survey within your networks. We are encouraging South Somerset businesses from all sectors, of any size and varying stages of reducing their carbon footprint to take part here before midnight on 5th November!

We welcome businesses of any size and at any stage of improving their carbon footprint. 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 are therefore keen to understand where our business community is at with addressing the climate emergency, and to gain information that will help us identify where we can offer advice and support going forward.
With COP26 imminent, this is a great way to let us know your thoughts during this time of focus on climate action.
Community environment project? SSDC Community Grants can help

Does your community have a great idea for a project that will enhance the environment, reduce carbon emissions or benefit wildlife? If you do then SSDC want to hear from you.

Our Community Grant Scheme funds up to 50% of the application costs and requests between £101 and £12,500 can be considered. Even a few hundred pounds for your community can make a difference to projects that benefit the environment and reduce the carbon footprint of communities. Find out more here

Previous projects we've helped include Ferne Animal Sanctuary reintroducing water voles and West Coker Memorial Hall energy saving.
South Somerset country parks and nature reserves retain Green Flag status

Volunteers and rangers are raising three Green Flag Awards this year at Ham Hill, Yeovil Country Park and Chard Reservoir, allowing SSDC to retain the award for the 16th consecutive year!

After seeing an increase in visitors during the last 18 months, our rangers, volunteers and Friends groups have been working hard to continually improve our green spaces. We are proud to see that their enthusiasm and dedication has been recognised by the Green Flag Awards for another year.

Ham Hill has also achieved the much coveted Green Heritage Site Accreditation, supported by Historic England, for the management of its historic features. Read the full story here
Parish Environment Champions
Catch up on the brilliant Wild Flower Seminar
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the SSDC wildflower Seminar on 29th September, and special thanks to Kate Petty from Plantlife UK, Steve Fox from SSDC and Jem Langworthy Parish Environment Champion at Barwick and Stoford.
The talk was engaging and full of great advice on how to start wildflower areas in your community. It was also good to hear SSDC's position which helped attendees understand how we're working to increase more wildflower areas and some of the barriers we have faced. Jem was the icing on the cake as he gave a fantastic presentation about how they have produced amazing areas where he lives and how he convinced the 'bowling green' naysayers to give rewilding a try.

Check out the video and learn how you can go wild!
The Great Wildflower Seed Parish Giveaway
We’re asking Parishes to start identifying sites that would best suit an area for wildflowers in your community. This information will form part of our wildflower seed giveaway applications which will be sent out to Parishes soon asking for sites and the overall area (m2). Areas, where the public can experience and access the natural beauty of the flowers, are preferred but not essential, however, the proposed wildflower areas do need to be somewhere open and sunny for most of the day, but can be flat or sloping. A relatively large area is best, where you have space for growing a range of wildflowers.
Keep an eye out for the application form email over the next week along with further details on how to create a wildflower meadow and how to maintain for future years.

Where will your community go wild?
The Great Collaboration Platform – Supporting Local Parish Actions for a Healthy Planet
We are encouraging Parish Councils to utilise theGreat Collaboration interactive online platform, which can track and capture information about the carbon reduction actions that individuals, business, community groups and schools in your local community are taking and planning.

A "personalised" platform for each participating parish council will be made available to communities as a link from a parish council’s existing local website. Outputs include:
  • Understanding the uptake of carbon reduction activities that local people are undertaking;
  • Increased understanding about local drivers and challenges;
  • Support and education for local people around adopting reduced carbon approaches, raising local awareness and confidence; and
  • Encouragement for shared community action on carbon reduction.

The platform is based around an easily accessible list of actions that are applicable to everyday life. Information will help inform Parish Carbon Reduction Action Plans and support community building by sharing knowledge & experiences, identify information and training needed, allow cost saving from group purchases and present opportunities for collectively financed initiatives. Visit our website for more information.
Get to know other Parish Environment Champions

We've been promoting Parish Environment Champion ‘coffee-meet-ups’ in recent editions of Get SuSSed, to help you get to know one another and share ideas. We’ve had a great response from across the network. We've recently shared a list of “groups” to allow you to get in touch with each other for a brief virtual or in person coffee/ chat. There’s no obligation to be involved but we hope you enjoy the opportunity to speak to other champions!

You might also be interested in seeing a map of the location of all our Environment Champions across the district (nearly 70 at present) – click here to view the map.

Finally, if you know of anyone else who would like to get involved (especially new parishes), please let us know! As always the email address is ssdcenironment@southaomerset.gov.uk
Let's Talk and Tackle Climate Change

And to keep in touch between coffee meet ups, don't forget the forum on the South Somerset Environment Website, a space to interact, share knowledge, ideas, case studies, or ask questions.
COP26 31st Oct-12th Nov

It's time! COP26, the crucial UN climate change conference is being held in Glasgow next week.

This is a golden opportunity to engage with the event, through the news and events happening right across the country. Here in Somerset, the SCOP26 event is taking place in Somerton (6th November) and will bring together representatives from our parish councils and communities right across Somerset to discuss actions towards moving to net zero. Further details and a link to the event can be found below in the events section and you can download the list of speakers and topics here.

Film-maker James Godman has been sponsored by Somerset County Council to produce a film featuring six projects in the county. The film will be shown at the United Nations COP26 summit which opens in Glasgow on Sunday 31 October and runs until Friday 12 October. You can watch the film here

FInally, check out the One Step Greener campaign which provides practical tips and inspiration through showcasing the many different ways people are getting involved!
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:

  • Together for Our Planet grants – the National Lottery Community Fund grants programme offering grants up to £10,000 for small-scale projects that address climate change. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Thursday 18 November 2021. Details here.

  • The Friends Provident Foundation – providing grants of up to £200,000 to private companies, social enterprises and registered charities for projects that address the root causes of economic inequality, including climate breakdown. Details here.

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

  • The Ernest Kleinwort Trust and PF Charitable Trust providing grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 for UK registered charities working in the area of wildlife and environmental conservation. For details of both schemes, visit here.
Green Business
New Plastic Packaging Tax

The UK government is introducing a new plastic tax which comes into force next April. The idea is this will be an economic incentive for businesses to use recycled plastic when producing plastic packaging, creating greater demand for this material, and in turn will stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste, diverting it away from landfill or incineration.

Its estimated that as a result of the tax the use of recycled plastic in packaging could increase by around 40%, equal to carbon savings of nearly 200,000 tonnes (2022-2023).

Businesses be ready! HMRC are holding a webinar on 22 November; find out more and sign up hereYou can read more about the tax here.
Local Eco-Friendly Business? Join 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.
eco events
Check our events page on the
South Somerset Environment Website

You can find information on local environment events on the new South Somerset Environment website. Please click here for details.

Some key ones this month are listed below:

  • The Levels Climate Forum, SCOP26+ Climate Event – 6th November, Edgar Hall, Somerton - more than 400 Somerset parishes have been invited to the SCOP26+ Climate Conference;

  • Rewilding Somerset – 19th November (online) – Join CPRE Somerset, as well as guests including Cllr Sarah Dyke, SSDC’s Environment Portfolio Holder, discussing the potential to make Somerset a greener, wilder place;

  • Rivercide: How did our rivers end up like this - 19th November, Frome Town Hall – Friends of the River Frome present a screening of Rivercide, a ground breaking investigative documentary into the state of UK rivers, presented by George Monbiot;

  • Carbon reduction for Businesses – 9th November (online) – SW Business Hub are hosting a free carbon reduction and sustainability workshop for businesses;

  • Dynamic Hedgerows – Somerset Wildlife Trust – 2nd November (Ansford, Castle Cary) – join an illustrated talk about of our hedgerows; including how to help manage and conserve them!

  • Small Businesses – The Journey to Net Zero – 2nd November (online) – a free online webinar to explore the significant role small businesses will play in the transition to Net Zero.
Green Titbits
Get ahead of the carve this Halloween

Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) is urging us to get ahead of the carve and help reduce scary amounts of waste this Halloween season and cutting the waste often means giving costs the chop, too.

Food waste: From soups to pies, check out hubbub.org.uk/how-to-eat-pumpkin for great recipes and advice for making the most of your pumpkin’s flesh after it has been scooped out ready for carving. You can also find lots of free recipes from the national Love Food Hate Waste campaign.

Composting: And once your grinning gourd ghoul is past its prime, breathe new life into it by composting if you can. If you cannot compost this year, make sure you add pumpkins to your food waste. All the food waste collected in Somerset - a staggering 22,542 tonnes in 2020-21 - is recycled in the county, turned into farm compost and electricity for homes at the anaerobic digestion plant at Walpole near Bridgwater.

Dressing up: If you are dressing up or preparing for a Halloween party, avoid single-use plastic supermarket products and instead go for spooktastic costumes from old sheets and cardboard boxes that can be recycled later.
Things to remember on 5th November

It's tradition for many to mark Guy Fawkes day, and organised bonfire and fireworks displays can be a fun night out. What is less fun is fireworks going off at random in the build up to the 5th November and afterwards which can be terrifying for animals and even some people. No one wants to be a kill joy so lets try to be as eco friendly as we can when planning bonfire night:
1)  What are you burning?; it’s not eco-friendly to burn wood that could have been repurposed or reused; similarly you don’t want to be burning anything that had any potentially toxic paint or varnishes on them.

2)  Burning wood and not replanting enough trees to replace them is unsustainable. Consider undertaking a tree-planting event this winter – there are grants available for free trees.

3)  Consider wildlife – when planning a bonfire make sure you don’t build it too far in advance. Burning it right after building it will reduce the risk to wildlife, including hedgehogs;

4)  Fireworks; even though they can be spectacular to watch, fireworks are not particularly eco-friendly. We suggest sticking to visiting organised displays and asking organisers to consider litter picks afterwards (fireworks are often made of plastic)!
Have fun, stay safe and leave no trace.
World Vegan Day 1st November

With the boom of people adopting a healthy lifestyle and environmentalism, even if you are not a vegan or vegetarian you probably know someone who is, and you too may be considering becoming one. World Vegan Day raises awareness for Veganism and is celebrated all around the world to help us understand the reasons people choose to be vegan and open up the possibility for more people to broaden their perspective.

Even if you are not vegan, reducing your meat consumption, and replacing some days with vegan or vegetarian meals helps. On meat days, buying quality, happy, locally raised meat is the way to go to reduce food miles and environmental impact, for example, eating lamb from New Zealand or an avocado from Mexico has a massive impact, so always choose seasonal produce as much as you can. Trying more vegan and vegetarian recipes may surprise you at how delicious they can be, and give you more scope to eat less meat. The important take away about World Vegan Day is to celebrate delicious vegan dishes and try new things. 
Recommended Reading & Ones to Watch
The Story of Stuff
Stuff stuff Stuff, how much stuff do we need? We are probably all guilty of having far too much of everything. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns.
Celebrity Trash Monsters Ch4 What's your waste size?

Comedian Jon Richardson makes Jodie Kidd, Kerry Katona and John Barnes wear their own trash - literally - to learn about waste and reduce their carbon footprint. Watch here
One for the children -
Little Turtle Turns the Tide

Carrying a strong and positive environmental message, the book tells the story of Little Turtle, who finds himself swimming in an ocean of plastic. So he sets off on a journey to make a difference, with the help of his friends and the children of the world. Available from all good book sellers.
How is climate change affecting where you live?

We want to showcase what's happening in our communities, so 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.

Pop in and have a look around!

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