Welcome to our festive 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 tips for a waste less Christmas!
Hello from Cllr Sarah Dyke our Portfolio Holder for Environment

Season's greetings everyone

It's been another busy period. COP26 saw the world come together to tackle climate change and here at SSDC we joined the UK100, as well as attended the Somerset COP26+ event organised by Levels Climate Forum - this saw 26 parish representatives come together to hear presentations from the Farming Wildlife Advisory Group, Carymoor Environment Centre, Bruton Retrofit, and Glastonbury Town Council Climate and Resilience, whilst our Environment Specialist Cara Naden ran a workshop on Green Charters for Councils.

I also spoke at the CPRE Rewilding Somerset event about SSDC’s No Mow Conservation Trials to enhance biodiversity, see more below; and as Chair of the Somerset Waste Partnership board, I want you all to know about their school eco grants, more info below. Please do let your local school know about this opportunity to get £500 for green projects.

As a team we are reviewing our progress against our Environment Strategy and we will be developing an updated action plan for the new year. I send you all my good wishes for the festive season and hope you can check out some of the sustainable Christmas tips in this edition to help you have an eco-friendly seasonal celebration. Enjoy!
Best Eco Wishes
Sarah x
SSDC Green News
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Sustainable New Year!

With love from the
SSDC EnvironmentTeam.
SSDC Carbon Literacy Training

During COP26 on the Global Carbon Literacy Action Day, and as part of our goal to become Net Zero Carbon by 2030, staff from across all services, including our CEO Jane Portman took part in a carbon literacy training day. Delivered by the Zero Carbon Britain team from the Centre for Alternative Technology each attendee committed to two carbon reducing actions to reduce carbon impacts at work; one as individuals and one that will influence a wider group to support low carbon culture change across SSDC. It was a success and we’re confident those attending were inspired with new ideas on how they can influence our journey to be a carbon zero organisation by 2030.
Local Authority Delivery scheme improves energy efficiency of 28 park homes in Somerset
 
All the Somerset district councils worked together to secure funding to deliver energy efficiency improvements for park homes across Somerset. Funding was provided by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), through the Local Authority Delivery Scheme (LADS) Phase 1b. Project delivery was supported by the Centre for Sustainable Energy. 

Through engagement with park home site owners, four key park home sites across the county were identified where park homeowners could benefit from the retrofit improvement works. The scheme resulted in 28 park homes receiving fully funded external insulation measures and ventilation upgrades, improving their Energy Performance Certificate rating. These retrofit improvements make their homes easier to heat and keep warm, which will reduce carbon emissions and their energy bills.  Read more here including where to get help and advice to keep warm this winter.
Somerset Waste Partnership
£500 Eco Grants for Schools

Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) are offering their first ever Eco-School grants. As part of its commitment to encourage waste reduction, reuse and recycling, SWP is offering grants of £500 to up to 50 schools to help them participate in the Eco Schools Programme. The grants can be used for all kinds of projects, the only proviso being that schools choose “waste” as one of its topics on the way through their seven steps to eco-school’s green flag status.
 
Councillor Sarah Dyke, Chair of the Somerset Waste Board, said: “Many young people are passionate about the environment and the Eco-Schools programme is a brilliant way of building on that and making a real difference. We hope that these grants inspire more Somerset schools to get involved”.
 
SWP’s Eco-School grants are available to any school receiving its waste services from the partnership (both primary or secondary). An application form can be downloaded here.
Lendology and SSDC Quarterly report

SSDC has a long standing partnership with Lendology and since 2005 have lent £1,224,543 to householders to make improvements to their homes including energy efficiency, and recycled £661,175 to fund home repairs and improvements across South Somerset.

By saving energy, the average household could reduce its emissions by 0.6 tonnes of CO2 per year. These measures could also save the average gas-heated home £184 per year! For help with funding your home energy improvements visit Lendology. You can also read the latest SSDC/ Lendology Q2 report here.
Zwings blind simulation walk will improve e-scooter safety

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) organised a blind simulation workshop for Zwings. CEO Joe Lewin who operates the Yeovil DfT E-Scooter trial, along with representatives of SSDC and Avon & Somerset Police force. Using ‘blind sim’ goggles and white canes, they were able to gain a real-life perspective on what it feels like to have varying levels of sight impairment whilst walking around public spaces. The simulation provided valuable experience which can now be applied to enhance pedestrian safety within the e-scooter trial operations and public realm improvement projects.
RHS In-bloom It’s Your Neighbourhood winners

Here at SSDC we have a long standing tradition of supporting and taking part in the annual RHS In-Bloom competition, creating public realm displays or biodiverse areas that enhance the environment. Another category of the competition is the It’s Your Neighbourhood campaign, which is part of the wider Britain In- Bloom initiative, that provides an opportunity for smaller community groups to get involved. 

The scheme is for volunteer led community gardening projects and groups who are focused on improving their local environment through community gardening. If you are part of a group that would like to get involved you can find out more about the It’s your neighbourhood Inbloom scheme here.  

30% of the judges points awarded were for environment responsibility and environmental activities such as conservation, composting, recycling, creating, maintaining or improving green space and sharing knowledge and skills.

This year, 9 groups in Yeovil took part, all of whom received Outstanding and Thriving accolades. Huge congratulations to all of the entries below:

Kenmore Drive Residents, Yeovil District Hospital Dementia Garden, Brookie Bridge Community Project, Wyndham Park Community Association, Rivers Community Trust at Yeovil Country Park and Milford Allotments all received Level 5 Outstanding awards. Westfield Community Garden, Able 2 Achieve and Sidney Gardens Friends Group all received Level 4 Thriving awards. Well done all!
Parish Environment Champions
SSDC Thermal Imaging Camera Lending Service
 
SSDC is trialing a thermal imaging camera loan scheme in Area East, of South Somerset this winter. In partnership with the Bruton & Cary Retrofit Project, Town and Parish councils in Area East of the district are being encouraged to book out a thermal imaging camera for up to a week to undertake prearranged thermal imaging of their communities homes and buildings. The thermal imaging camera will identify heat loss areas which may indicate where the installation of insulation could help in reducing their fuel bills. For more info and which communities are in Area East, please go to the South Somerset Website here. We will review the project trial in Area East at end of this winter and look at expanding to the rest of the district next winter.  
The SSDC Great Wildflower Seed Parish Giveaway is live!

Parishes across South Somerset can benefit from free wildflower seeds this winter as part of SSDC’s new Great Parish Wildflower Seed Giveaway scheme.

We are asking as many parishes and landowners as possible to get involved and identify sites that would best suit an area for wildflowers in your community, especially areas where the public can experience and access the natural beauty of the flowers; however, this is not essential. Ideally, the wildflower areas should be located somewhere open and sunny!

Where could your community go wild?

To find out more and get an application form click here
Community Carbon Calculator tool

Impact, the parish-level carbon emission estimator, gives all parishes and small communities usable data on their carbon emissions that are easy to interpret and easy to share. It tells you how people in the parish travel and heat their homes, and other activities in the area that contribute to the local carbon emissions total. Visit our website for more information here.
Queens Green Canopy - Plant a Tree for the Jubilee

Are you planning a tree planting project to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022? Free trees are available from the Woodland Trust to mark the occasion and can be applied for here. If you have the space (and landowner permission) to participate in the tree planting initiative visit The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Somerset website for more information and to register your tree plantings.
Let's Talk and Tackle Climate Change

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
COP26
A success or a disappointment?

Sir David Attenborough delivered an electrifying speech at the opening of the World Leaders Summit on Climate Change in Glasgow.
He gave a message of hope on behalf of the world that through action, we will witness the recovery of the natural world. But his warning of what will follow should we fail to act was also clear and stark.
 
Following COP26, we have created a list of top tips with ideas and inspiration on what you can do to keep up the pressure and make a difference – click here for details.
Grants and Funding
Environment Grants

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:


  • Platinum Jubilee Community Fund - offering grants of up to £50,000 to a range of organisations for projects which create change within local communities. The deadline is 5pm on 15 December 2021. Details here.

  • Somerset Waste Partnership’s Eco-School’s grant – offering £500 to up to 50 schools to encourage waste reduction, reuse and recycling, open to primary and secondary schools – details here.

  • Co-op Community Fridge Fund - Grants of £4,000 are available to UK not-for-profit organisations to develop Community Fridges (a space where everyone can share surplus food) – details here. Find out how to set up a community fridge see in this toolkit here

  • The Circular Future Fund are offering grants of up to £300,000 to charities, social enterprises, and not-for-profit, for “trail-blazing ideas” that accelerate the transition towards a more circular economy. Details of project examples and how to apply here.

  • The Co-op Carbon Innovation Fund - grants of up to £100,000 for projects which will reduce emissions in the food and farming sector, as well as projects that address the impact(s) of climate change on communities. Details here.

  • The E A's natural environment investment fund, offering grants up to £100,000 for projects which improve and safeguard the environment by helping projects become “investment ready”, such as the restoration of river catchments to encourage investment from water companies. Details here.

  • Woodland Trust – Offering free trees as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. For details visit here. 
Green Business
Results of the SSDC Green Business Survey

Our recent business survey found that 50% of respondents across South Somerset have recognised a climate emergency and 70% had plans to reduce their environmental impact. However, we found that engagement from our business community was slightly lower than we had hoped and we recognise this may not be the number 1 priority right now. We will be looking to engage further with businesses on this topic; both to understand the challenges they face to deliver the Net Zero agenda, but also to highlight the benefits that ‘Net Zero’ can bring!
 
Some easy environmental wins for our business community include:

  • Switching to a renewable energy tariff – only 30% of respondents said they currently use a renewable energy tariff – visit the Big Clean Switch here

  • Make simple energy efficiency improvements to your premises and save money – for more information visit Somerset’s Carbon Audit Toolkit for Businesses.

  • Set a pledge and have a vision (it doesn’t need to have a bottom up plan at this stage but it is important to start somewhere!)
FSB Small Business Virtual Conference: The Journey to Net Zero

Click here to read a summary of the FSBs recent conference: SMEs - The Journey to Net Zero, including details of opportunities, grants and case studies covering a variety of sectors.

Some key take-homes were:
  • Set a pledge and have a vision
  • Look to your supply chain – we are all each other’s gate-keepers on climate change so we need to support each other;
  • Tell your customers about your plans! SMEs have good relationships with customers and are highly trusted;
  • Develop a Net Zero action plan – visit Zero Carbon Business and put in your details (it covers all business sectors and sizes etc.) and it will generate an ‘off-the-shelf’ Action Plan to help you start your journey. Visit: Become a Net Zero Business.
  • Finally, achieving ‘Net Zero’ is a credential, an asset you can sell to your customers and provide you with a competitive advantage!

Get your business to Net Zero with Plan it with Purpose Hub

Small and medium-sized companies are responsible for around half of the total carbon emissions from UK businesses*
 
It doesn't have to be overwhelming. There are tangible and achievable steps that small businesses can take to play a role in tackling the climate emergency. If you're ready to start or improve the impact your business makes on the planet, visit the Plan It With Purpose campaign hub to discover tailored resources.

South Somerset businesses:
Are you adapting to climate change?

You are invited to a two hour morning workshop on 12th January, hosted by My Carbon Coach. The session is aimed at independent sole traders and SMEs looking to gain a deeper understanding of sustainable ways to grow and adapt. The session will be an informative, practical, and fun mix of presentations, structured group discussion, course materials and worksheets! Workshop costs £20. Register 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.
Events
eco events
Don't miss events!
Check out our events section on the
South Somerset Environment Website

Find information on local environment events on the new South Somerset Environment website. Click here for details.
Key events below:

  • SSDC Community Grants (12th Jan) – join our online webinar to find out more about the SSDC Community Grants scheme. Sign up to hear an overview, along with examples of eco-projects already supported. Zoom details to follow but please register interest here.

  • 12th January - South Somerset businesses, are you adapting to climate change? A two hour morning workshop hosted by My Carbon Coach, aimed at independent sole traders and SMEs looking to gain a deeper understanding of sustainable ways to grow and adapt. Workshop costs £20. To register click here  

  • Rivercide: How did our rivers end up like this? Missed Frome Town Council’s screening of Rivercide, a ground breaking investigative documentary into the state of UK rivers, presented by George Monbiot – view it again here.
CPRE Rewilding Event

Last month CPRE Somerset (The Campaign to Protect Rural England) a countryside charity hosted a hugely successful rewilding event that explored how we can all make Somerset a wilder, greener place where wildlife and communities can thrive.

The afternoon of talks, presentations and discussion included speakers from Rewilding BritainSomerset Wildlife Trust, our own Councillor Sarah Dyke South Somerset District Council and Horner Farm, who farm with the environment on Exmoor.
Cllr Sarah Dyke gave a presentation 'On the edge: how South Somerset District Council are tackling conservation verge management.

If you were unable to attend you can catch up on Sarah's presentation in this video and see the other speakers here.
Green Titbits
Junior Forester Award

The Junior Forester Award gives children and young people an insight into a career in Forestry as well as the practical ability to assist in woodland management in their schools and local communities. The scheme is open to schools, families and individual young people. For all you need to know, check out the Royal Forestry Society website here.
Waste fleet powers-up with electric truck

A green rubbish collection revolution is quietly underway for Somerset as Somerset Waste Partnership takes on its first electric collection truck. The new electric refuse vehicle has been bought and will be used on routes across the county. Running the electric truck will save around 38 tonnes of carbon annually compared to the diesel version. And, thanks to being a refurbished truck than a new-build, it has saved tonnes of carbon in its manufacture. While more expensive to buy than a diesel truck, running costs will be around £8,000 less each year. As it makes its way around the county, SWP will establish which routes are suitable for electric vehicles. Read more here
Have a Happy Green Christmas
What is the most Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree?

Every year, millions of us put a Christmas tree in our home to celebrate the festive season. Some real, and some artificial. So which is best for our planet? Is it more eco-friendly to cut down a live tree that you’ll eventually throw away, or is it better to buy an artificial tree that you can use again and again? If you're not sure bear this in mind.

  • A live Christmas tree with the root ball attached is by far the most eco-friendly Christmas tree.

  • If you can’t get a tree with an attached root ball, getting a live Christmas tree that has been sustainably farmed, is more eco-friendly than getting an artificial Christmas tree, or ask if they do a rent a tree where you can return the tree to be grown on after Christmas and rent another next year.

  • If you really have to get an artificial Christmas tree, look for one that’s made in the country you live in, not made from PVC, and use it for at least 20 years! They are almost impossible to recycle so make yours a family heirloom!

And when it's all over, if you bought a sustainably farmed cut tree make sure you dispose of it responsibly. The best option is to compost it at home or turn it into a wildlife corner, but if you can't, you can take it to your nearest recycling centre or put it in or beside your garden waste collection. More info at Somerset Waste Partnership here.
Cut the card this Christmas
 
With a third more cardboard being collected from the kerb, Somerset Waste Partnership is asking us to think outside the box this Christmas.

Nearly 16,800 tonnes were collected from county kerbsides in the 12 months up to the start of October 2021, an average of 65kg per household compared to 47kg in 2019-20.

It’s great that it’s being recycled, but it would be better if we could reduce and reuse instead - producing it and collecting cardboard has a carbon cost that contributes to climate change. Going on-line is clearly part and parcel of today’s shopping, but it doesn’t have to be the answer for everything. By thinking off-line and local, festive shoppers can help protect the environment and the Somerset economy.

  • Buy gifts that don’t need boxes – vouchers for restaurants, attractions or pampering treatments; subscriptions for newspapers magazines or streaming service; memberships for trusts or clubs. Or give the gift of time and help, by pledging to babysit, cook a meal or take someone out for a countryside walk.

  • Shop on the High Street - cut out the extra packaging that comes with online delivery and help local businesses.

  • Shop on-line but local - Local retailers can deliver to your door and they tend to use less packaging than the big multi-nationals.
 
Know how to wrap responsibly? Ready to recycle your Pringles tubes? Clued-up on Christmas collection days? The answer to these Christmas conundrums can be found at the Somerset Waste Partnership website.
Recommended Reading & Ones to Watch
A Sustainable(ish) Living Guide
Jen Gale

Make living a greener life your new year resolution. With everything you need to know to make small changes that make a big difference, this book provides stacks of practical, down to earth ideas to slot into your daily life, alongside a gentle kick up the butt to put your newfound knowledge into action.
Gardens & Biodiversity

RSK Biocensus experts show us the most important drivers of biodiversity in gardens and summarises some of the recent scientific evidence, including the impacts of garden-management practices and wildlife-friendly interventions and the role of
non-native plants.
New South Somerset Environment Website

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

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