Welcome back from Sarah Dyke

And what a welcome back it is! As the summer season sets in, our environmental teams at SSDC have been doing a huge amount of groundwork, including biodiversity surveys, conservation initiatives and confirming our 2022/23 Environment Action Plan!

We also have a huge variety of upcoming events and opportunities as well as some key environment dates for the diary!

Read on to find out more about the incredible work going in to making our Environment Action Plan a reality.

Best eco wishes from Sarah x
SSDC Green News
Our NEW Environment Action Plan 2022/23

We are excited to announce a new Environment Action plan for 2022/23. The plan sets out the key actions that our team will deliver, and also the things we hope to enable in our communities throughout the year. This year the environment is a top area of focus within our Council plan, you can see the ambitious targets that we aim to deliver throughout the year here.

The new action plan is broken down into clear targets and actions under seven main categories including; the overarching plan, our carbon footprint, energy efficiency and retrofitting, transport, resources and recycling, the natural environment, and enabling change through others.

There is also a big section on Business as Usual – all those things that have become part of day job since the adoption of the original strategy in 2019; like bringing you Get SuSSed every month! The team are immensely proud of what has been achieved to date at SSDC but we remain determined to lead the way for sustainable change.

The new Environment Action Plan will be loaded onto the environment web site next week and we will feature a link in next month’s Get SuSSed. 
UPDATE: No Mow Conservation
To make sure we are delivering against our declaration of a climate and ecological emergency, and in response to the success of last year’s ‘No Mow’ Trials, SSDC is making a number of changes to the way we manage some green spaces!

Currently, SSDC is contracted by Highways Somerset to cut highway verges four times per year, however, we previously chose to cut sixteen times a year to effectively maintain SSDC verges. In rural areas, we will now be decreasing our cuts to six times a year which promotes increased biodiversity and our rewilding programme, whilst in urban areas, we will cut 11 times per year to ensure all areas are frequently maintained so footpaths and visibility are not affected. 

This new regime not only reduces our carbon footprint through a reduction in fuel usage, but also promotes flower and grass species to prosper, ensures the areas can effectively sustain our pollinators and provide new habitats for all species. Wild plants can also flower and then set seed, hopefully creating enough nectar for a greater number bees and other pollinators!
Public Sector Decarbonisation: Solar panels incoming!

We are pleased to announce the estimated completion dates of the solar panel installation works that will take place at our Freedom Leisure Centres as part of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

  • Work at Wincanton Sports Centre will begin 30 May 2022, and will be completed by 17 June 2022.

  • The Goldenstones Leisure Centre solar panel installation will begin 2 June 2022, and finish 29 June 2022.

  • Westlands Sports and Leisure Centre work will begin 8 June, and is due for completion on 29 June 2022.

These new PVs will help to reduce the carbon emissions from our leisure centres, providing clean energy direct from the roofs!

To find out more about the Public Sector Decarbonisation scheme,
FIXY: Love your stuff
for longer!

From the growing network of Somerset repair cafes to the new FIXY van touring Somerset, repairing possessions is a great way to help people spend less, waste less and connect more. 
This month Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) has officially launched its new repair service, Fixy, an initiative aiming to increase the repair and reuse of electrical goods. Recycling is great, but repair and reuse are even better. Electricals are full of valuable raw materials and making new items uses huge amounts of energy. Reusing them helps tackle climate change.

From toasters to tablets, record players to remote controls. If it has a plug or takes batteries, the new Fixy service is about giving your goods a new lease of life if it stops working – making it easier for people to ‘love stuff for longer’!

So where’s FIXY? For a list of repair cafes across Somerset and events where Fixy will be attending, visit SWP’s website here.

Upcoming events include:

Holding a repair cafe or other event you would like Fixy to attend? Email fixy@somersetwaste.gov.uk to request it's attendance.
Second 'Super Nature Reserve' announced in England.... And it's in Somerset!

Last week, Somerset Wetlands was announced as the second 'super nature reserve' by Natural England, after the first site was chosen in Purbeck, Dorset in 2020. Somerset Wetlands covers an area of 6,140 hectares of salt marsh, heath and wetland, which is home to significant populations of birds and insects.

The status means further work towards increasing biodiversity by improving the quality of habitats and monitoring plant and animal populations. To read more on the subject, click here.
Parish Environment Champions
REVIEW: River Walk

We had a great opportunity for our Environment Champions to see a working and developed river restoration project on Dodham Brook in Yeovil, hosted by Yeovil Rivers Community Trust (YRCT).

We discussed all kinds of topics from where to find funding, invasive species management, riparian landownership and even the best method of insurance. You can see all the details regarding what YRCT are doing here.
We are committed to working together to make a difference

A reminder that we are always looking to expand our Parish Environment Champion network!

Our Environment Champion network is made up of an expanding group of town and parish councillors and residents who are passionate about the environment and are willing to volunteer their time to share best practice and support within their local community.
For more information of how to get involved and to see a list of where our Champions are currently located click here
Future Environment Events
Check out our events page on the South Somerset Environment Website for full details:
30 May - 1 June 2022: 'Giving Dodham a Hand' activities - Yeovil Country Park

Join the rangers this half term for their ‘Giving Dodham a Hand’ activity days. Visit Yeovil Country Park for a wild and historic day out for children and adults alike. Pond dipping, heritage handing, seed bomb making, and building minibeast mansions, all for FREE! 

Walk, cycle, scoot or skate! If you’re able to avoid driving, please do so. We’re trying our hardest to keep our carbon footprint down with this project, so we’d really appreciate it. You’ll have goodies to take home with you, so please bring a bag.

All the activities will be taking place by the main pond at Ninesprings, in and around the pond dipping zone. Visit the Yeovil Country Park Facebook Page to find out more!
9 June 2022: Somerset Green Open Homes – Retrofitting webinar: 1965-80 Detached Homes (7:00pm-9:00pm) - Virtual

Thinking of improving the energy efficiency of your home? Do you want to reduce your fuel costs? Join Somerset Green Open Homes for the first of their virtual events looking at retrofitting.

In this webinar, we will be meeting two households in South Somerset to share their experiences so far on their retrofitting journey. Measures that will be discussed include cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, air source heat pumps, solar hot water and solar PV. 

Somerset Green Open Homes is a project from the Somerset Retrofit Accelerator project, a partnership between the four District Councils, Frome, Bruton and Glastonbury Town Councils, Somerset Independence Plus and the Centre for Sustainable Energy. 

Want to find out more? Book your place here.
12 June 2022: Green Scythe Fair - Thorney Lakes Caravan and Camping Park, Thorney, Langport (all day event)

This volunteer run environment fairl, set within the beautiful Somerset Levels, offers workshops, stalls, food, entertainment, and of course a scything competition! Tickets are expected to sell out fast, so grab yours here to avoid missing out!
17 June 2022: Somerset Water Forum – J24 Conference Centre (10:00am - 4:00pm)

What’s different about how Somerset is tackling current and future flooding, drought, biodiversity and water quality challenges?

Attend this event to hear from some of Somerset’s most innovative projects surrounding topics such as climate change, water quality, flooding and working with nature. Find out what’s being done now – and what needs to be done next at this FREE event (with lunch provided)! You can book your place here.
18 June 2022: Energy Transition Conference: Communities delivering local net-zero - Engineer's House, Bristol (9:30am - 4:30pm)

How do we approach the race to net-zero? How can we effectively deliver low-carbon community projects and implement smart local energy systems?

These questions are just a few of the ones that will be discussed and answered at this FREE energy transition conference. Join Community Energy England, co-organised with Bristol Energy Network on Saturday 18 June at Engineer's House in Bristol. Places are limited so book your place now. The event will include a range of informative, engaging workshops, talks and networking opportunities. Full details here.
15 July 2022: Health and Climate Conference by Green and Healthy Future for Frome - Cheese and Grain, Frome (9:30am - 5:30pm)

Health and climate change - how are they connected? Does taking action to improve one, create opportunities to improve the other?

A unique partnership - Edventure Frome, Frome Medical Practice and Frome Town Council - is working together to achieve health and climate win-wins in Frome. Join them on 15 July to learn about our impact, ways to get involved and models for making change in your own community. To find out more and book your tickets, click here.
In the Community
Launch of Community
Adaption Toolkit for
Community Halls

The Community Adaptation Toolkit (CATkit) for village halls has been designed by a local student at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) to help village hall committees to carry out an audit of their halls in order to assess its potential vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. To trial it with your community hall please download the toolkit on our website here.
In addition you can also download the Community Council for Somerset’s “Community Buildings DIY Energy Audit”, a handy starting point when assessing how to reduce energy use in your community building.
CAT are looking for feedback from communities on the toolkit and how it could be improved. Please consider reviewing the audit tool and providing a short response to their survey here. 
Grants and Funding
Environment Grants

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

  • The Somerset Local Nature Partnership Summer Fund - small grants up to £1000 available to seed future nature-based initiatives across the county promoting health and wellbeing. Open to voluntary, charitable, community or social enterprise organisations in Somerset. The deadline is 8th July – to receive an application form please email Sophie.burns@somersetwildlife.org

  • Somerset County Council Growing Grants Round 1 - grants of up to £5,000 are available to local not-for-profit organisations in Somerset for projects and activities that encourage community food growing. The deadline is 10th June – click here.

  • The Environmental Grants Programme - grants up to £1,000 are available to organisations and individuals in the UK for projects that have a positive impact on the environment by furthering the environmental profession and/or raising awareness of environmental issues. Grants can be used for such things as project materials and/or travel arrangements and accommodation. E.g. a community tree planting initiative, conference attendance, expeditions, or research. The deadline is 30th June – click here.

  • QBE European Operations Foundation – Grants up to £25,000 are available to UK registered charities that are contributing to the creation of strong, resilient and inclusive communities by addressing climate resilience and empowering marginalised groups in society. The deadline is 30th June – click here.

  • The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund - grants of £5,000 for small grassroots not-for-profit environmental organisations in the UK that are available to small UK registered charities and organisations working in the areas of the countryside, education, environment, health and wellbeing, heritage and conservation. Apply here.

  • The Screwfix Foundation - grants up to £5,000 for local and national charities and not-for-profit organisations, including Community Interest Companies (CICs), across the UK to fix, repair, maintain and improve properties and community facilities for people in need. This could include energy efficiency measures for community halls for example. The next deadline is Wednesday 10 August 2022. For further information visit: Screwfix Foundation website.
Green Business
The Great Green Directory

Do you own or know of a green business operating in South Somerset that you believe would be great to include in our Great Green Directory for the community?

The Great Green Directory showcases a variety of green businesses from local food producers to refill shops. Go check them out now and share with other eco businesses in the area!

If you would like to add YOUR business please fill out this form.
Energy Crisis
Actions and advice

New energy tariffs came into force on 1 April, which could make the average household energy bill rise substantially. Visit our environment website here for energy saving tips!
Sustainable Retrofit

The Somerset Retrofit Accelerator Project is a partnership between the four district councils in Somerset, plus the Town Councils of Frome, Bruton and Glastonbury, Somerset Independence Plus and the centre for sustainable energy. The aim is to give Somerset residents access to retrofit home improvements to support the move
towards carbon neutrality.
Are you in the field of construction and think you or your staff would benefit from retrofit training? Then this is your last chance to apply!

30 FREE training places are being offered to those working in the construction industry, that believe they could benefit from upskilling in retrofit with the Green Register. Apply here before the project closes on 2 June.
How your pension is impacting our natural world

The Make My Money Matter’s ground-breaking research – undertaken in partnership with SYSTEMIQ and Global Canopy – shows for the first time the full scale of ties between people’s pensions and global deforestation.

From timber to tobacco, mining to manufacturing, pensions are propping up the very businesses responsible for chopping down 10 million hectares of forests each year.

For an average pension holder, that means two pounds in every ten of YOUR money is linked to environmental devastation around the world. As well as harming the planet and the people who live on it, investing in deforestation can harm your pensions too.
Take action today, and cut deforestation from your pension. Make My Money Matter is working to make sure everyone’s money helps protect nature, and not destroy it.

Help by sharing this video so everyone knows what their pension gets up to when they're not looking!
Green Titbits
SSDC wildlife surveys

The rangers have been busy carrying out wildlife surveys across our sites, including birds at Ham Hill and Yeovil Country Park, reptiles and water voles at Chard Reservoir and Great Crested Newts at Moldrams Ground.

The results have been encouraging with a whopping 14 Great Crested Newts found in one pond at Moldrams and blackcaps galore at both Ham Hill and Yeovil Country Park. We have even heard a cuckoo at both Ham Hill and Yeovil, unfortunately not at the right time to be recorded on our surveys!

The rangers carry out these surveys to ensure that the habitat management work they do is appropriate for the species and to monitor populations across the sites. Some species that we monitor are protected by law and the rangers possess specific species licences to enable them to survey these species.
UPDATE: EV Charging Network installation update

SSDC has been progressing the installation of an EV Charging Station Network across a number of the SSDC public car parks with Scottish Power, who will operate the Charging Network. Work is now starting, although there are several steps in the installation process before the charging network will be up and running, so we appreciate your patience. Each charging station will have two 22kW sockets for any EV to use with their compatible charging cable, and will be powered by energy generated by wind.

The following car parks will have initial groundworks installed starting in May and on-going over the summer. We will update you when they are fully operational later this year.

The confirmed car parks include:

  • Fore Street and Bath Street, Chard
  • West Street and South Street and LIDL,Crewkerne
  • Millbrook Gardens , Castle Cary
  • Goldcroft, Petters Way, Brunswick St, South Street Market, Petters Way, Brympton Way, Yeovil Recreation Ground, Court Ash park, Fairfield, Salthouse Lane, Huish, Stars Lane, Yeovil
  • Prigg Lane South Petherton
  • Stoke Sub hamdon
  • Tolbury Mill, Bruton
  • Wharf Lane, Ilminster

(and a few more car park locations to follow once confirmed!)

Upcoming Awareness Days
World Environment Day 5 June 2022
World Environment Day was first celebrated in 1974, and has since become an international platform for raising awareness and prompting action towards a more sustainable future.

Millions of people have taken part to help drive change in environmental policy. Every year, World Environment day has a theme that covers key environmental issues, and this year's theme is 'Only One Earth'. To find out more information and get involved this year, visit the official website here.
World Ocean Day
8 June 2022
In a bid to tackle the ongoing deterioration of our oceans, World Ocean Day was proposed by Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.

By focusing on collaborative conservation within a global network of youth and organisational leaders in over 140 countries, the aim is to protect at least 30% of our blue planet by 2030.

To find out more on how you can support Ocean day this year, click here.
National Clean Air Day 16 June 2022
One of the biggest risks to our health is air pollutants. Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths. This terrifying statistic has prompted the creation of Clean Air Day to help improve public understanding of air pollution and how we can actively work towards clean air.

This year's theme is 'Air pollution dirties every organ in your body. Take steps to improve your health this Clean Air Day'.

To show your support or sign up for the Clean Air Day newsletter, click here.
Recommended Reading & Ones to Watch
'Britain is facing an invisible extinction of biodiversity' -
The Big Issue

This article explores how Britain's biodiversity is in crisis, but how an increasing disconnect from nature has meant few have actually noticed. It claims that without re-engaging the public, experts fear reversing the loss will be impossible. You can click here to read the full article.
Mia Makes a Meadow by Rachel Lawston and Beatriz Castro

This beautifully illustrated children's book is set within the communal garden of a block of flats and explores the benefits of allowing areas to flourish naturally and support the growth of wildflowers, and the resulting positive impact this can have on the community. This is the perfect book to help your children connect with nature!
Chasing Coral- Netflix

This documentary follows a team of divers, scientists and photographers around the world as they witness first-hand, the disappearance of coral reefs. They captured the most severe bleaching event in recorded history, due to the strain of increasing temperatures as a result of climate change. To find out more, visit their website here.
Positive News

Positive News is an online news outlet that shares all the amazing things happening in the world. There is an entire section on the website dedicated to positive environment news that you can access here.
Final Thoughts
Don't forget to switch your web browser to ECOSIA!

Ecosia is a search engine that has been developed to help support the planting of trees around the world! To download the extension, click here.
Visit our South Somerset Environment Website

Stay in the know about all things environment in South Somerset.
Pop in and have a look around!

If you enjoy Get SuSSed and would like to share it, you'll find the link on our website here. Just copy and paste the link into your social media or within some text on your website. Or just forward the email to friends.

You can also find all back issues of Get SuSSed here.

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