January 2023

Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency

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January 2023

Reducing our Carbon Footprint and increasing Biodiversity

Happy New Year and 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, what things are going on around the District, 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 then contact our Climate Change Specialist by email here and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

South Hams District Council Awarded £1m to Support Community Net Zero Targets

Pile of money

South Hams District Council has been granted funding of over £1m to help reduce carbon emissions in the district. The money will allow the Council to deliver targeted business and community support programmes.

The award comes from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

The Council is using the money to achieve the most sustainable outcomes possible to support its climate change and biodiversity promise to become net-zero by 2050.

By working closely with specialist organisations, businesses and community groups, the Council can improve sustainable travel infrastructure, begin to decarbonise our marine sector, and help our farming community to adopt innovative approaches to farming that are better for our climate and ecology.

The key themes for our work programme associated with this funding are

  • Active and Inclusive Travel
  • Agriculture and Regenerative Farming
  • Marine Economy and Decarbonisation
  • Wider Business Support and Consultancy

We will be working with identified stakeholders and partners to deliver an array of projects over the coming year.

Events and Webinars

Long-term scenarios for net zero: The case of UK Future Energy Scenarios

Tuesday 24 January 2023, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The UK economy should be a net zero economy by 2050. Academic, government and industry experts acknowledge that this net zero future can come in many forms, not least because of the many trajectories that can lead us to it. In the face of a very concrete target and a world of uncertainties, we have scenarios whose purpose is to help us think of both the certainties and uncertainties.

This session will discuss if and how long-term scenarios can help us figure out what will be different next month, next year, or next time the Olympics happen in Europe.

In this session we will discuss scenarios as devices to guide discussions on the near-term future of electricity, with implications across other industrial sectors and energy consumption technologies, including on transportation, cities and households.

The UK Future Energy Scenarios are still unique by international comparison, as they are produced by the country’s Electricity System Operator. Thus, the session will also offer a window into one of the frontiers of electricity sector planning.

On the panel:

Jose Maria Valenzuela, Net Zero Fellow, Institute for Science Innovation and Society and Oxford Net Zero

Priya Bhagavathy, Lead R&D Engineer (whole energy system), PNDC

Sagar Depala, Energy Demand Forecasting Manager, National Grid ESO

Avi Aithal, Head of Open Networks, Energy Networks Association

This event is hybrid. When you sign up, you can choose to attend in-person (at the Oxford Martin School, Oxford, UK) or online via Zoom.

Click here to find out more.

imperial college

A Changing Planet Seminar by Sir James Bevan

Tuesday January 24 2023, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Nature and biodiversity have traditionally been thought of as part of our rural environment. However, we are realising more the critical role that the natural environment and green infrastructure play in our urban spaces and how they can support better outcomes for people, the environment and the economy.

They can also help tackle the climate emergency and get us to net zero. The Environment Agency has a central role to play in all of these things.

Environment Agency Chief Executive, Sir James Bevan, will talk about the Environment Agency’s work and the role that nature and biodiversity will play in our future cities.

Click here to find out more and register.

state of carbon removal

The State of Carbon Dioxide Removal - Report launch

Thursday 19 January 2023, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Join the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the launch of a significant new report, The State of Carbon Dioxide Removal – a first-of-its kind, independent, scientific assessment, tracking the development of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) globally.

At this launch event, lead authors will discuss key findings from the report. They will present the global state of CDR development, tracking progress on its scale up, public perceptions, policies and innovation.

After short presentations, the authors will be joined by expert contributors and will answer audience Q&A.

Presenting authors:

  • Oliver Geden, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)
  • Jan Minx, Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC)
  • Gregory Nemet, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Steve Smith, University of Oxford

Click here to find out more and register.

Sustainable South Hams Events


Introduction to Social Media for Sustainability Groups. Thursday 19 January , 7 p.m, to 8:30 p.m.

Join us on Zoom for an introduction to using social media for your sustainability group with Sustainable South Hams' Bridie Kennerley, who has experience running social media and communications for various science and environmental organisations.

This free event will run through the basics of setting up and maintaining social media accounts, but we'd love to hear about what you would like to achieve and what challenges you are facing so when signing up you'll find a link to a short survey.

Click here to register.

SSH Community Group Leaders' Monthly Gathering (Kingsbridge).  Wednesday 11 January, 10:30 a.m to 12:00 p.m. 

Venue: Kingsbridge Care Hub, Ilbert Rd, Kingsbridge, TQ7 1DZ (Parking at Quay Car Park or Cattle Market).

Whether you're planning a new group, looking for advice from likeminded leaders or want to share what you've learned, you're welcome to join us for conversation and cake! Click here to sign up.

Funding and Help

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

Devon on Earth - Deadline of 31 January 2023

Grants are available to community organisations and groups for projects and initiatives which bring people together to reduce environmental damage and improve local areas in Devon, Torbay and Plymouth.

Devon on Earth has been set up as part of Devon Community Foundation’s Thrive with Five scheme. It aims to help people understand the impact of climate change and human activity in their local community and the positive steps they can take to protect the environment.

Grants of between £2,000 and £5,000 are available.

Priority will be given to applications that demonstrate strong community engagement and bringing people together for the benefit of the environment and community, especially if people are getting involved for the first time.

Applications are accepted from not-for-profit, voluntary or community groups, registered charities or social enterprises, parish or town councils, churches and schools.

Click here to find out more and apply.

Community Garden Awards – The National Garden Scheme - Deadline of 31 January 2023

This scheme provides grants of £500 to £5,000 for the creation of a garden or a similar project with a horticultural focus (such as an allotment) for the benefit of the local community.

Community groups, either a charity or Community Interest Company (CIC), can apply. Each application must itemise the details of the costs they are planning to cover.

Eligible costs could include site preparation (including hire of small mechanical tools such as rotavators), hand tools, plants, trees, shrubs, containers and seating.

Applications will be accepted until 31 January 2023.

Community Garden Grants - National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk)

Sources of funding for tree planting in Devon

As of publishing 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.

New Research and Publications

2022 - The Warmest Year on Record

met office

December saw some of the lowest temperatures since 2010, but it ended a 15-month run of above average temperatures (from September 2021).

While also setting a new 139 year annual mean temperature record, 2022 also featured several other significant weather events, such as an exceptionally warm new year, three named storms occurring in February alone, exceptionally dry months along with record breaking temperatures in July.

met temperature trend

The Met Office state that although the UK will continue to experience a number of cold spells of weather, the frequency, severity and durations of these temperatures has declined as a result of climate change, as can be seen in observational data and as part of a post-event report on early December’s low temperatures.

To read the summary from the Met Office in more detail, click here to read their blog on the matter.

The UK produced a record amount of wind power in 2022

wind turbine

Recent windy weather helped to set new records for low-carbon electricity in Britain towards the end of the year.

The Press Association said the nation’s wind turbines set new records for the third time in 2022 on December 30, generating 20.91 gigawatts (GW) of power. National Grid Electricity System Operator also confirmed that a new record was set for the share of electricity on the grid coming from zero-carbon sources – renewables and nuclear – as they supplied 87.2% of total power.

The Press Association notes that this “shows the British grid is getting closer to times when there will be 100% zero-carbon operation”. Compare this to 2017 when the National Grid released similar figures fresh after Christmas, saying half-hourly, daily and weekly records were set on 23rd, 24th and 25th December - with 47% of the UK’s electricity coming from renewable sources.

21 December marks exactly 25 years since the UK’s first wind farm started generating clean electricity. Back in 1991, ten turbines were switched on at Delabole onshore wind farm in north Cornwall, powering 2,700 homes a year.

You can read a full analysis about this by Carbon Brief here.

How Forests Near and Far Benefit People in Cities

forest protection

New research led by World Resources Institute and Pilot Projects through the Cities4Forests initiative has added to a growing body of research that shows how forests located far away from urban centres provide numerous benefits in regulating the global climate, water and biodiversity systems.

The research combines the benefits that forests at three scales — inner, nearby and faraway — some of the biggest gains for cities are by conserving forests outside their boundaries.

The benefits are listed as;

  • Trees and forests can change the microclimate and improve air quality locally
  • Trees and forests improve mental and physical health.
  • Forests, especially biodiverse ones, provide the blueprints for new medicines.
  • Forests support the pollinators that help produce urban food supplies.
  • Protecting biodiverse forests can reduce risks of zoonotic and vector-borne diseases.
  • Forests and trees help build communities.
  • Forests can help provide clean water.
  • Forests help prevent floods.
  • Trees and forests can improve water supply.
  • Forests help provide stable and consistent water supplies.
  • Forests cool the air and reduce energy demands.
  • Forests sequester carbon.
  • Biodiverse forests often provide more — and more reliable — goods and services.
  • Biodiverse forests store more carbon, more reliably.
  • Biodiverse forests can provide more reliable and richer health benefits to urban residents.

To read a summary of research findings, click here.

Image credit: Dhana Kencana / Climate Visuals Countdown

Posted in Environment.