April 2023

Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency

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April 2023

Reducing our Carbon Footprint and increasing Biodiversity

Thank you for subscribing to this newsletter. This is a place for us to update you on what we are doing at South Hams District Council and what things are going on around the district.

It will tell you what's going on nationally and things you, our residents and businesses can be doing to reduce your carbon footprint and manage your land to improve the environment and its biodiversity.

If you have anything you would like to include in this newsletter, contact our Climate Change Specialist by email here.

Survey Available For Community Groups, with £50 prize draw

CAG devon

Community groups working on environmentally-conscious activities like repair and reuse, food redistribution, and biodiversity projects can now take the Community Action Group (CAG) network survey, supported by Resource Futures.

Devon County Council want to hear from you to learn how best to support community action and expand the CAG Devon network.

The goal of this survey is to better understand the challenges groups face and possible solutions to ensure the CAG Devon service is shaped by the needs of the community.

Completing the ten minute survey will enter you into a prize draw to win £50 for your community group. The closing date is Tuesday 11 April at 5 p.m.

Click here to read more and take the survey.

Events and Webinars

imperial college

Climate change and mental health: Catalysing a global research community

Tuesday, 18 April, 12 p.m. to 1.30 p.m.

Attention on the mental health impacts of the climate crisis has grown rapidly in the past year alone, yet the climate and mental health space remains fragmented.

There is rapid progress in some places, while critical gaps remain in others. Over the next year the Institute of Global Health Innovation wants to work with a diverse global community to create an aligned vision and connected community of practice for research at the climate change and mental health nexus.

This is a critical time for the multi-disciplinary climate and mental health community to come together, to form an aligned research agenda that meets the needs of people experiencing these impacts and which translates into real policy change and action on the ground.

  • 18 April, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Stay for optional interactive games, 1 p.m. to 1.30 p.m.

Join online to put mental health at the heart of climate change action:

  • Hear more about this project from the project team
  • Have the chance to ask questions
  • Find out how you can get involved
  • Get creative with Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre games

Register now for their launch event.


ShareFest Totnes - 29 April 10 a.m to 4 p.m, Totnes Town Council Civic Hall, Market Square, High Street, Totnes

Are you based in Totnes or locally in Devon? Join ShareFest on 29 April at Totnes Town Council's Civic Hall for a host of fun activities.

This is a collaboration of likeminded individuals and organisations, all working to build a world where people and planet thrive together. There will be a Repair Cafe, a pay-what-you-feel cafe, seed and plant swap, and an upcycling workshop. If you're based locally, come along!

Click here to find out more.


Green Infrastructure: How can we build a sustainable future? Tuesday 16 May,
2 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.

Due to our growing population and increased urbanisation, it is estimated that globally we build the equivalent of a city the size of Paris every single week!

At present, the building and construction industry is responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions, of which 70% is from energy consumption and the remainder from construction materials.

The strive for net-zero emissions would require these CO2 emissions to fall by 50% by 2030 according to the IEA. As the energy grid transitions away from fossil fuels, it is evident that the next step in the fight against climate change is tackling the carbon footprint of building materials, both the manufacture and supply of construction materials as well as the construction process itself.

As such, the Grantham Institute for Sustainable Futures asks the question: How can we build a sustainable future?

This online event will include a panel discussion with experts in construction from both industry and academia to highlight the top priorities and challenges for decarbonising infrastructure, as well as cutting-edge research in the area.

There will be the opportunity for you to ask the panellists your burning questions and understand the best practices for building a greener world. All staff, students and general public are welcome.

Click here to register.

cec totnes

Become a “Community Energy Champion”

Would You Like To Support Your Friends, Neighbours, Transition Street Group & Community To Reduce Their Energy Bills & Reduce Energy Waste?

Wednesday 24 May & Tuesday 30 May from 1 p.m. to
4.30 p.m, at the REconomy Centre, Totnes.

A short course is being provided to train ten local people in the TQ9 area in the basic skills & knowledge that will enable them to help their friends & local community to reduce their energy costs / waste.

The course will be run over two 3½ hour training sessions. This training is being provided for FREE but must be booked in advance.

The course is designed to help our communities to:

  1. Lower energy bills
  2. Improve energy security
  3. Lower their carbon footprint
  4. Transition to renewable energy & low carbon heating when possible

If you are interested in participating in the training, you can find out more & book your place online here.

Sustainable South Hams Events

April Community Group Leaders' Gathering: Following up on the Rivers Assembly

Wednesday 12 April, 10 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. at Kingsbridge Care Hub, Ilbert Road, Kingsbridge

Join us for our monthly group leaders' gathering! We'll be following up some of the amazing discussions and projects that came out of our Rivers Assembly, and asking you what your next steps look like.

Note: an earlier start and finish time - 10 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. Click here to find out more.


National Lottery: Awards for All

Grants up to £10,000 are available to support community organisations with projects and activities in their local area.

You can apply for funding to deliver a new or existing activity or to support your organisation to change and adapt to new and future challenges.

Awards for All funding is for projects and organisations which aim to:

  • Build strong relationships in and across communities
  • Improve the places and spaces that matter to communities
  • Help more people to reach their potential, by supporting them at the earliest possible stage
  • Support people, communities and organisations that are facing increased demands and challenges as a direct result of the cost-of-living crisis.

You can also apply for a grant to help your community to celebrate national events including the Coronation of His Majesty The King, The Eurovision Song Contest and the 75th anniversary of Windrush.

Applications are accepted from constituted voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations and statutory bodies such as local authorities and community councils.

Note that funding is not usually available to schools except where the main focus of the project is to benefit the wider community.

Grants of between £300 and £10,000 are available for up to one year.

Focus of fund/fund aims: The National Lottery Community Fund small grants scheme which provides a simple application process for community organisations seeking funding up to £10,000.

Application deadline: Apply at any time.

Click here to apply and find out more.

Climate Action Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund is inviting applications for the Climate Action Fund, which aims to support people and communities to work together to address climate change.

The Climate Action Fund is a ten-year programme with a total budget of £100m.

The funding is for community-led partnerships, led by voluntary or community organisations, charities, schools or not-for-profit companies. It is expected to support a mix of different places, communities, themes and initiatives across the UK.

The fund is now open for funding applications for projects that:

  • Show how creating a deeper connection with nature will lead to changing people’s behaviours and have greater care for the environment.
  • Show how by bringing nature back into the places we live and work, we can help communities to reduce or adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Projects can apply for up to £1.5million, for a period of two to five years. Most of the funding is expected to go to projects that request between £300,000 and £500,000.

If your project idea is still in development, you may request a grant from £50,000 up to £150,000 for a period of 12 to 18 months.

Focus of fund / the fund aims: Projects that use nature to encourage more community-led climate action and bring other important social and economic benefits.

Application deadline: Applications may be submitted at any time.

Find out how to apply and more: National Lottery Climate Action Fund

Sources of funding for tree planting in Devon

At the time of publication of this newsletter, there are over 20 different sources of funding for tree planting in Devon.

The Devon Local Nature Partnership manage a great list of funding sources.

Ongoing resources, help and tools

Decarbonise Devon - Decarbonise Devon is available to support organisations undertake the entire process of developing and delivering a project that saves your organisation energy, reducing costs and carbon emissions.

Decarbonise Devon carries out the whole process for you: planning, project management, financing, finding trustworthy contractors, even verifying your impact. Click here to find out more and get in touch.

Workplace Charging Scheme - The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme that provides eligible applicants with support towards the upfront costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle (EV) charge points. Click here to find out more and apply.

South Hams Town and Parish Guide to Net Zero -  Whilst Parish and Town Councils may have more limited resources than the District or County Authority, Parish and Town Councils can still be a very important force for good in their local areas to address the climate and ecological emergency. We have curated a guide to get you started and provide tips here.

New Research and Publications

20-year research project reveals devastating loss of British & Irish flora


Thousands of botanists from the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) have spent
the last twenty years collecting data on changes in the British and Irish flora.

The results have now been published in Plant Atlas 2020 and four main trends have emerged since the 1950s:

● 53% of our native plants such as heather and harebell have declined in Britain due to human impacts such as agricultural intensification and climate change.
● non-native plant species now outnumber native plant species in the wild – this startling discovery has huge implications for the insects and other species that depend on our native plants.
● many non-native species are benign but some such as New Zealand pigmyweed and sitka spruce have become invasive, disrupting ecosystem function and outcompeting native species.
● many montane plants have declined due to climate change whereas some southern species such as bee orchid have benefited and spread further north.

To read more, click here.

IPCC completes its most detailed study on climate change


The IPCC has published its final report in the sixth assessment cycle on climate change. The work has involved over 700 scientists from 91 countries and has taken eight years to complete, which makes it one of the most in-depth analysis on climate change ever conducted.

In 2018, IPCC highlighted the unprecedented scale of the challenge required to keep warming to 1.5°C.

Five years later, that challenge has become even greater due to a continued increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The pace and scale of what has been done so far, and current plans, are insufficient to tackle climate change.

“Climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed least to climate change are being disproportionately affected,” said Aditi Mukherji, one of the 93 authors of this Synthesis Report, the closing chapter of the panel’s sixth assessment.

“Almost half of the world’s population lives in regions that are highly vulnerable to climate change. In the last decade, deaths from floods, droughts and storms were 15 times higher in highly vulnerable regions,“ she added

The IPCC stress that the solution lies in climate resilient development. This involves integrating measures to adapt to climate change with actions to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in ways that provide wider benefits.

For example:

  • access to clean energy and technologies improves health, especially for women and children;
  • low-carbon electrification, walking, cycling and public transport enhance air quality, improve health, employment opportunities and deliver equity.
  • The economic benefits for people’s health from air quality improvements alone would be roughly the same, or possibly even larger than the costs of reducing or avoiding emissions

To read the report, including its summaries, click here.

United Nations adopts landmark resolution on climate justice


A resolution adopted at the end of March at the United Nations General Assembly means the UN General Assembly will seek the opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on countries’ obligations to address climate change.

The resolution was led by Vanatu, a small archipelago who's future is threatened imminently by rising sea levels. The resolution was supported by 130 countries, including the UK. Whilst the ICJ advisory opinions are not legally binding, they carry authority and weight.

Click here to read a transcript of an interview with the Head of the Frontiers in Environmental Law Unit at the Law Division of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) about what this resolution means.

Posted in Environment.