Season's greetings from the Environment Team,

We wish you all well this winter and hope that this issue can offer support to those that may be finding this time of the year particularly difficult (please see the Energy Crisis and the Grants and Funding section for further details).

This year has seen many trials and tribulations and we have felt the effects of climate change like never before, but we are determined to continue working towards carbon neutrality and mitigating climate change as much as we can.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that has supported sustainability projects and initiatives in South Somerset, and we hope that this passion and determination continues into 2023. To see what we have achieved this year and for more information on environment projects in the council and the community, visit our website.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Eco New Year, and we will see you again in January!

Best eco wishes from the SSDC Environment Team x

SSDC Green News

Yeovil Rec strikes gold (twice)!

After reaching the finals in 2019, the team have smashed it this year winning both the 'Sports & Turf Best Environmental and Sustainability Impact Award' and 'Best Managed Artificial Surfaces of the Year Award'.


The team of five groundsman at Yeovil Recreation Centre are responsible for the maintenance across the 37-acre site and have worked tirelessly to deliver works to transform Yeovil Recreation Centre into an environmentally friendly site. Click here to find out more about the sustainable practices that have been implemented.

A huge congratulations to the Yeovil Rec team!

Have you seen our brand new Lufton Nursery Facebook page?

Tucked away at our Depot on Lufton Trading Estate in Yeovil, is SSDC's very own nursery! The nursery's function is to provide the stunning floral displays you see around South Somerset towns and parishes, as well as supporting with tree and wildflower planting initiatives.

Although the nursery is here to support SSDC, there is often a surplus of plants left over which allows the nursery to not only offer products for public sale, but also peat-free compost which will be available in the spring! Opening times are 9am-3pm, Monday to Thursday, and 9am-2pm on Fridays, and residents are welcome to visit to not only see what they have on offer, but also seek advice for their own gardens from our knowledgeable and helpful staff.

You can find out more about what the team do and what is on offer this Christmas on their brand new Facebook page!

Looking back on this year...

2022 has been a year of reflection and enhancement for our nature-based projects as we saw our No Mow trial extended from 5 South Somerset communities covering 0.6 hectares, to over 10 hectares within communities across the whole district!

We also developed a wildflower seed giveaway which saw 29 successful community applicants, creating over 5 hectares of wildflower meadows throughout South Somerset. Through this scheme we found several sites with Bee-orchids present, which prompted the creation of new and improved grassland management plans to protect this species, amongst others. In addition, over the past year SSDC has planted 1681 trees!

Thank you to all of our members, staff and residents that have supported our incredible environment journey this past year, and if you missed any of our major projects you can watch our Environment Achievements Film here!

Looking to the future...

SSDC looks to 2023 to complete some of its projects to support further decarbonisation. These include the completion of the EV Charging Station network rollout, the continuation of the e-scooter trial with the DfT to help aid people in making zero emission transport options, and the wider loan of thermal imaging cameras through the Somerset Library service.

We will also be trialling HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) fuel for our existing fleet to reduce carbon emissions while we plan the overall transition to electric vehicles. Further energy efficiency improvements are being planned for our offices too!

Energy Crisis

Actions and advice

The cost of living crisis is still affecting every household which is exactly why we have put together all of our energy saving tips here to help those in need of advice. You can also check out the grants section on the webpage to see if there is any support on offer, or for a longer term solution why don't you consider retrofitting your home? You can start your retrofitting journey by borrowing a thermal imaging camera. Click here to find out more!

Save money and energy by changing a single setting on your boiler

Many UK combi boilers burn more gas, generate more carbon emissions and cost more in energy bills than they need to. Research by Nesta, the UK’s innovation agency, shows that by adjusting the boiler flow temperature to 60 degrees or below, the average household will save around £112 off their bill and 172kg in carbon emissions. It takes just five minutes to change your boiler flow temperature, this free online tool from Nesta will show you how!

Get involved in the Money Saving Boiler Challenge and save cash on your bill this winter by clicking here!

Thinking about investing in renewables?

We work with social enterprise lender, Lendology CIC, to provide low-cost home improvement loans to help you to increase the energy efficiency of your home. You can apply using their quick and easy application form online and a Case Manager will support you throughout the process. Click here to apply.

Sust-it electricity cost calculator

Calculate the running cost of any electrical items using a range of electricity tariffs. This can help you identify areas in your homes that aren't so efficient, and how to minimise costs. Click here for more information.

Save money this winter and keep the heat in by insulating your loft

The Big Loft Insulation Drive is here to help you stop the heat in your home from escaping so your energy bills are lower. If you have no loft insulation, professional installation of the recommended 270mm in a typical semi-detached house costs £640. If you decide to do it yourself, the average cost is £460. You could make savings of £355 a year, meaning you will have paid for the cost of installation in less than two years!

Click here to find out more and start saving.

In the Community

Our fabulous natural greenspaces

Recap: Fabulous fungi forays in South Somerset


The rangers were delighted to welcome back renowned mycologist Michael Jordan to Ham Hill, Chard Reservoir and Yeovil Country Park to lead the public in fungi foray’s through our woodlands and meadows.

Michael was delighted at the range and number of specimens found at each site. The variety of species is testament to the management work that the rangers and volunteers carry out across site to ensure that habitats are viable for a whole range of species. We often associate fungi with dead and decaying matter and, whilst this is true, they also play a crucial role in the health and sustenance of a wide variety of habitats and species.

Did you know that the growth of orchids is intrinsically linked to the presence of fungi in the soil? Fungi also help to transfer nutrients from the soil into trees and support a variety of insects and other plants, helping to reduce dead plant matter into a form that they can feed on.

Our Country Parks have been busy hosting a number of Christmas events and will continue to provide incredible open spaces into the new year, so make sure you are following their Facebook pages to keep up to date on what's on!

Have a wonderful not wasteful Christmas

From wrapping responsibly to festive meal planning, Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) is promoting ways to waste less and save more this Christmas. The festive season generates a huge amount of extra waste, much of which can be avoided by reducing, reusing and recycling wherever possible.

The SWP website is full of useful tips and advice, including ways to cut card and reduce food waste. It also tells you how to recycle some of your festive favourites.

  • 🎅Wrapping paper – only paper wrap can be recycled, scrunch it and if it stays scrunched it can be recycled.
  • 🎄Pringles – taken at 12 recycling sites (all but Castle Cary, Cheddar, Dulverton and Somerton) in the skips for cartons/Tetra Pak.
  • 🎅Metal or plastic sweet tins – reuse for storage if you can. Or go in Bright Blue Bag or the metal or plastic skips at recycling sites.

Collections are unchanged up to and including Friday 23 December, but then change to accommodate festive Bank Holidays.

There are no collections on Monday 26 December or Monday 2 January. Both weeks’ collections will be a day later than usual, including Saturday collections for waste usually picked-up on the Friday.

All 16 recycling sites are open on their usual winter hours over Christmas and New Year, except all close on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, but Crewkerne recycling site will have one extra day open, on Tuesday 27 December.

For the Community


Last month, we joined forces with the Rotary Club of Yeovil by offering the group space outside St John's Church to plant purple Crocus corms to raise awareness of the continuing fight against the disease, polio.

The Rotary is an international community who are supporting the fight to eradicate polio and have helped immunise more than 2.5 billion children around the world, reducing cases by 99.9%.

These plants will stand as a reminder of the support The Rotary Club of Yeovil have provided to this cause, and will bloom in their vibrant purple colour next spring.

If you would like to make a contribution to support the eradication of polio, you can donate here.

Parish Environment Champions

A Thank you to our Champions

Looking back over the past year, we are so pleased at the level of engagement from our parish Environment Champions in attending case study visits including Wyke Farms, where we explored their Anaerobic Digestion to make biogas from food and farm waste plus solar powered renewable energy, demonstrating their own carbon reduction and massively reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Our champions also visited the awesome zero fossil fuel community at Tinkers Bubble.

We have also hosted a number of successful workshops including engaging with parish community halls on how to make plans to improve the halls adaptation and resilience to climate change impacts, and a hedgelaying session with our countryside team learning rural skills to benefit and improve our hedgerows and their inhabitants.

We are so grateful to have such a passionate community willing to support our environment strategy and action plan. We hope this incredible work not only continues, but increases next year. Thank you so much to everyone involved!

If you are currently not an environment champion but would like to be, or have any environmental good news from your community, please contact us here as we would love to hear from you!

Green Flag awards open for applications

Thank you to those Champions that attended the Green Flag seminar in October, and we can confirm that the scheme is now open for applications across all the awards. The closing date is sooner than last year, towards the end of January, but still a couple of months to get an application submitted.

Please login here to complete the online application form, with the details below and the closing date for applications is the 31st January 2023. The application fees for 2023 are:

Sites under 20 hectares = £369 + VAT

Sites over 20 hectares = £424 + VAT

Green Heritage Award = £124 + VAT

If you require login details for a new site, please email here. Good Luck!

Green Business

The carbon challenge - how to make sense of the carbon on your farm

Farmers are being offered the chance to apply for up to £1,500 of funding to help them cut down on their greenhouse gas emissions.

The Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) programme is being run locally by the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Service. The funding can help cover the costs of advice from an advisor who will help take farmers through the process of collecting and recording information regarding greenhouse gases. Once this is done, the advisor will then be able to suggest practical ways of working towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

For more information on how to apply for funding for one-to-one advice from a Farm Carbon Advisor, email or phone 01761 462 338 and mention Farm Carbon Audits.

Sustainable Business Advice

If you own or work for a business and are looking to make your business more sustainable, Somerset County Council are offering business advice in one convenient place. Click here to access their webpage.

The Great Green Directory

Are you a business with an eco-friendly ethos? Is your business helping to act on the climate and ecological crisis? Do you know of a green business in the area who should be included in the directory?

Sign up via this form, or email us directly.

You can also browse sustainable local businesses helping to support action on the climate and ecological emergency from solar panels to local food, right here!

Environment Events

Check out our events page on the South Somerset Environment Website for full details:

Somerset Net Zero Business Workshops


🌍Net Zero and Sustainability for Business- Friday 9 December, 10am – 12pm, Albert Goodman, Taunton

Led by Albert Goodman and SCC. This workshop will provide an introduction to net zero and the different scopes of carbon emissions as well as some discussion around why this is relevant to all businesses. We will also review wider sustainability regulations, and goals, outside of just carbon enabling all organisations to find an area of sustainability which could become a focus for their business. Book here.

Cartgate Christmas Shopping


🎄5-10 December, 9am – 4pm, South Somerset Visitor Information Centre & Gift Shop, Cartgate Picnic Site, TA14 6RA

The South Somerset Visitor Information Centre has a selection of gifts from over 20 local suppliers on offer. Shop local this Christmas and find a unique gift for that special someone.

Grants and Funding

Environment Grants

You can now find all information on external grants and funding on the South Somerset Environment website. Please click here for details and if you know of any other grants or funding currently available please let us know here.

All community grants are now closed, so a huge thank you to everyone that applied. Below is a list of our community grant awards since 2020/21 and we have awarded 13 environment grants to date:



Rights of way improvements (stiles/gates)


Conservation of woods


Solar panels


Remembrance wood


Reintroduction of water voles


Heating system


New ventilation system


Plant preparation project


Play equipment & wildlife area


Poetry workshops & walks


Nature recovery project


Allotment plots/ open space


Solar panels


Top Tip of the Month

A Get SuSSed-ainable Christmas!

Here are a few tips for making your Christmas more Sustainable!

  • 🎅Think second-hand first- Second-hand gifts, Christmas jumpers, nativity costumes and decorations will ALWAYS be a lower carbon option. You're making use of the energy and resources that have already gone into a product, potentially saving something from landfill, AND saving money - what's not to love?!
  • 🎄Reduce your Christmas carbon footprint- One of the biggest contributors to a high carbon Christmas is unwanted gifts. And apparently 81 million unwanted gifts are received each year, with 1 in 10 unwanted gifts ending up in landfill! Can you prune your list? Buy for kids only? Do a secret Santa?
  • 🎅Cook clever- Try to plan ahead so that if the oven is on, it's full. Can you pop a pudding or some mince pies in there while you're cooking dinner? Embrace your slow cooker which is great for batch cooking big meals if you've got family round, but you can also do your Christmas pud in there, using far less energy than boiling away for hours on the hob. Also, using the microwave for re-heating leftovers is lower energy than putting the oven on.
  • 🎄Your Christmas dinner- What you choose to eat at Christmas has a big impact on your carbon footprint. Beef and lamb are the highest carbon options, and turkey has a footprint three times higher than that of chicken. It is always best to support local business by purchasing local produce and buying directly from farmers. If you are struggling to find local suppliers, visit the Somerset Food Trail website here. Avoid air-freighted and out of season foods if you can too - so no mange tout, strawberries, blueberries etc.

Christmas Watch List

The Lorax- available to rent on platforms including Amazon Prime, Youtube and the Google Play Store

The Lorax highlights the importance of conservation and shows that actions have consequences and promises should be kept. Although the film is aimed at children, the key message is one relevant to all. To quote the original book's author, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”

WALL-E- available to stream on Disney+ and rent on mainstream platforms

WALL-E is an animated film from Disney Pixar, set in a future where humans have left the world uninhabitable due to an excessive amount of waste. Although this film focuses on a very real issue, it follows a sweet romance with a heart-warming ending.

Don't Look Up- available to stream on Netflix

This American apocalyptic comedy about a comet hurtling towards earth may seem irrelevant to environmental issues, however the impact event is a metaphor for climate change whilst highlighting the very real threat of government and political inaction.

The Secret Genius of Modern Life- Available to stream on BBC iPlayer

Hannah Fry discovers why innovations in meat packing almost derailed the electric car revolution and how a breakthrough in camcorder batteries led to Elon Musk’s electric empire. 

Final Thoughts

Your New Year's Resolution

After a year full of uncertainty, including navigating a global pandemic, storms and the hottest summer on record, we wanted to commend you all for not only getting through all of it, but also supporting your local environment and helping to mitigate climate change.

Going into the new year, it is important that all of us focus on the bigger issues at hand and do what we can to support the environment and carbon reduction. So, think carefully this year about your New Year's Resolution. Think beyond the 'new year new you', that promise to yourself that you will read more, or that cutting out of your one guilty pleasure you just cannot stay away from, and instead look to ways which you can make small but impactful positive changes for the planet.

There are plenty of tips on our website and some amazing books out there, including 'How Bad are Bananas' by Mike Berners-Lee- which would also make a fantastic Christmas gift!

🎅🎄 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of our readers! Keep safe and best eco well wishes from the Environment Team x 🎅🎄

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