Eligible residents, who are living without gas heating, are being offered the opportunity to benefit from free gas central heating of home heating from South Hams District and West Devon Borough Councils.
The funding for District and Borough residents was gained last year from the Warm Home Fund and it is still available. We would really like to see eligible residents applying as soon as possible.
Further funding from the Councils is used, along with SSE Energy Solution’s ECO fund, who are project managing the scheme. Wales and West gas network will contribute by connecting properties to the gas network.
The Councils are targeting residents of households who are struggling to pay heating bills and living in a cold home without a gas supply. The aim is to provide central heating for up to 232 homes.
The project is part of the wider council target of reducing the area’s carbon emissions by replacing old inefficient heating systems.
South Hams District Council’s Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Jonathan Hawkins, said: “We are really keen that as many residents as possible take up this important scheme in the South Hams so they can benefit from warmer houses. There are too many homes which have out of date heating which can no longer cope.
“If you think you’re eligible for this scheme, or you know someone who is, please get in touch as soon as possible while this money is still available to us.”
The Councils will provide the boilers and central gas heating systems, which will improve both heating and energy efficiency. This is an important step in reducing the areas carbon footprint in inefficient homes.
Applications are welcome from both owner occupiers and also from the private rental sector, who do not have any central heating system (there is a £500 charge for landlords). Eligibility is dependent on the heating within the home and close to gas network. Homeowners must be under the housing income threshold of £35,000 p.a.
Local community energy groups Tamar Energy Community and South Dartmoor Energy Community Energy, will be able to give advice to households on energy suppliers and energy efficiency.
Please be aware that the Council will not cold call at homes offering these types of home improvement opportunities. If you are in any doubt, please contact the Council for further information.
The government is funding a voucher scheme to enable households and businesses in rural areas to access high speed broadband connections. The vouchers are £1500 for households and £3500 for businesses. The voucher is not handed over to individuals - instead, you will have to contact a broadband supplier in your area to handle the subsidy, and two or more residents in a "group scheme" are needed to qualify. There is more information on the following government website https://
This includes a postcode checker which then gives you a list of suppliers for this area if you are eligible. Cllr Andrew Hollett firstname.lastname@example.org has kindly offered to compile a list of those interested and put them in touch with each other. You may need to change your provider if they are not listed.
Devon County Council have updated their Coronavirus website and it now includes links to all the relevant data for Devon in an accessible format. The following advice/information is taken from that site.
Devon, so far, is doing well to keep the number of confirmed cases low, even after there’s been easing of lockdown restrictions. That’s largely due to residents, and visitors, sticking to the guidance. There is no sign of any impact from the relaxation of lockdown or increased visitor numbers.
"To protect yourself and others, when you leave home you must:
- keep washing your hands regularly
- wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in enclosed spaces
- stay at least a metre, or better still two, away from people not in your household."
We're still posting the latest national, regional and local updates and developments, but recently we've included links to the available data.
"The data is publicly available from different sources, but we've pulled it together into the one place to give Devon residents and visitors to the county access to the latest information.
Devon County Council is also actively recruiting people to work in the Adult Care sector, particularly people aged 16 - 25 years who would be interested in making it their long term career choice. Details are available on the following link.
Don’t lose your voice - residents in the South Hams urged to look out for their voter registration details from South Hams District Council.
Local residents are being warned not to lose their voice on decisions that affect them by making sure their electoral registration details are up to date.
With elections taking place in the South Hams in May 2021, including the postponed Police and Crime Commissioner Election this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part.
The annual canvass ensures that South Hams District Council can keep the electoral register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered so that they can be encouraged to do so. They would then be able take part in any future elections.
Steve Mullineaux, Deputy Chief Executive at South Hams District Council, said:
“It’s important that residents keep an eye out for messages from us, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in South Hams. To make sure you are able to have your say at elections, simply follow the instructions from your local authority.
“If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear in the messages we send. If you want to register, the easiest way is online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, or we’ll send you information explaining how to do this in the post.”
“This year’s canvass, which we have to carry out by law, is taking place during a challenging public health situation. We are working to ensure that we take account of public health guidelines, including the continued importance of social distancing.”
People who have moved recently are particularly encouraged to look out for the voter registration messages from South Hams and check the details. Research by the Electoral Commission indicates that recent home movers are far less likely to be registered than those who have lived at the same address for a long time. Across Great Britain, 92% of people who have been at their property for more than sixteen years will be registered, compared to 36% of people who have lived at an address for less than one year.
Melanie Davidson, Head of Support and Improvement at the Electoral Commission, said:“It’s really important that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to do so. Making sure you provide the necessary information to your local authority when it is needed will ensure the process runs smoothly. This is particularly helpful in the current public health situation, as it will help avoid the need for home visits from canvassers.
“There’s lots of helpful information about registering to vote on our website https://www.
Any residents who have any questions can contact their local registration team at South Hams District Council via the website www.southhams.gov.uk/annual-
South Hams District Council has received reports of potential rogue traders operating in our area, specifically targeting vulnerable and elderly residents unable to carry out their own tree works.
Several members of the public and their families contacted South Hams Trees team recently, after they were cold-called by traders claiming to be tree surgeons. The traders offered to do garden and tree works for cash, and also advised residents they could legally carry out works to protected trees and provide a certificate to submit to the Council to avoid prosecution.
No such certificate exists – any works to a tree subject to a Tree Preservation Order or in a conservation area require permission beforehand from the Council.
Unauthorised works to protected trees can be punished in some cases by an unlimited fine and a criminal conviction, so homeowners could potentially find themselves in trouble for unauthorised works.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 affords protection to species nesting in trees and it is a criminal offence to disturb them. This can be reported to the police via 999 if the works are in action (contractors are still on-site) or via 101 or the police website if the works have been completed at https://www.police.uk/pu/
Cllr Keith Baldry, Executive Member for the Environment, said: “Unfortunately there are always people who will say anything to anyone to try and extort money from homeowners, and this is another example.
“Always be very wary of anyone who appears on your doorstep offering to do work.
“Remember that anyone who claims to be a qualified, insured tree surgeon will be perfectly happy to provide evidence of their qualifications and their insurance. They also won’t rush you into a decision, or ask for payment in cash without a proper invoice.”
There is lots of information on the South Hams website about protected trees and how residents can apply legally to work on their trees if required. If you are the owner of a protected tree and want more information, please visit https://www.southhams.gov.uk/
If a tree is dangerous or dead, there is a process for requesting emergency works. Always seek advice from a qualified arborist (tree surgeon). The Council recommends using the Arboricultural Association website to find a qualified, insured tree surgeon if you need one. Visit www.trees.org.uk for more information where you will find a useful checklist including insurance requirements and details on the necessary qualifications.
Cllr Baldry continued, “As usual, these people will have no scruples in targeting vulnerable residents and taking advantage of trusting souls in our community. Please watch out for your families and neighbours. If you have any concerns, please contact the Police on 101 or online for advice.”
The government has recommended further lockdown easing measures from June 1st. Six people from differing households (England only) can meet OUTSIDE maintaining social distancing. This includes gardens. Regular hand washing is required and it is recommended people take their own cups/utensils etc. Visitors should only enter the house if it is the only way to access the garden. Entering the house to use the toilet should be avoided wherever possible (unless it's your house!!). If you do have to use the toilet facilities you should wash your hands before and after doing so. All hard surfaces should be wiped down with an appropriate cleaner before leaving the premises.
It is now a crime to stay at someone else's home overnight, or to hold gatherings of two or more people indoors or more than six people outdoors, under new legislation.
Minimising contact with others is still the best way to prevent transmission. You should also try to avoid seeing people from too many households in quick succession - so that we can avoid the risk of quick transmission from lots of different families and continue to control the virus.
Clinically extremely vulnerable people will be able to go outside with members of their household from Monday, while continuing to follow physical distancing guidelines. Those who live alone can meet outside with one other person from another household while maintaining social distancing. They should not go to the shops etc as before.
The above information is taken from the Prime Minister's statement and press release.
With my public health head on there are some points to consider for our community. This advice is being widely ignored nationally which increases the risk to us all but particularly those in at risk groups ( see previous Post 8 if you are unsure if this applies to you). The contact and trace service is beginning to operate. The criteria are that you will be required to quarantine yourself for 2 weeks if you are identified as having been within one metre of an infected person for a few seconds ( think narrow paths to the beach) or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes. This gives an indication of how infectious coronavirus is. As stated above minimising contact is the best way to avoid being in this situation. There is also evidence that people are beginning to ignore the isolate advice if they have symptoms , this advice remains as stated in previous posts.
On 19/05 the government updated its coronavirus symptom list as follows.
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you have any of these symptoms. Stay at home. Everyone over the age of 5 years is now entitled to a coronavirus test ( the swabs are not effective in under 5's). The Stay at Home guidance for people with symptoms is here. You can book a test here. You need to arrange a test within 3 days of developing symptoms as it needs to be completed by day 5.