South Hams Climate Change and Biodiversity Newsletter March 2024

Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency

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March 2024

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

Council Updates

Thermal Imaging Cameras

Thermal IR Camera

In November 2023 we launched a thermal imaging camera hire scheme for community groups and Town and Parish councils. Although it might not look like it right now, Spring is here and outdoor temperatures will begin to increase, as such the usability of the cameras will be reduced as they are best used when there is a noticeable temperature difference between the outside and inside.

As such, we will be closing the scheme on 30th April. We will be using the feedback we received this season to redesign the service for late Autumn 2024.

Council embarks on vital vessel recycling project

boat recycle

South Hams District Council has launched an innovative project which will explore the recycling of abandoned vessels and help to reduce marine pollution.

Creekside Boatyard in Dartmouth recently dismantled a sailing boat that reached the end of its useful life and with support from the Council, look at ways to fully recycle all parts of the boat.

The findings from the two-week study will help support local harbour authorities and coastal communities who struggle to dispose of abandoned vessels in their harbours. marinas and boatyards.

The project has the support from the Royal Yachting Association and its environmental programme The Green Blue who are currently collecting data on abandoned boats.

Cllr John Mckay, South Hams District Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change and Biodiversity said: “An increase in the manufacture of recreational vessels from the 1980s means that, over the next few decades, many more will reach their end of use. Most of these will have hulls made from mixed materials such as fibre reinforced plastic.

“Currently, there are few incentives for boatowners to recycle older boats due to cost and lack of specialised recycling facilities. Most vessels that have been abandoned on the water end up being salvaged and scrapped. While some components can be commercially recycled, the majority, including composite hulls, end up in land fill.

“With our focus on climate change, it is vital we look at what we can do within our District’s waters. Being able to recycle unused vessels will go a long way in achieving our net-zero targets.”

Chris Craven, Managing Director of Creekside Boatyard said: “We are delighted to be supporting South Hams District Council in pioneering the disposal and recycling of end-of-life vessels. Our vision is that this study will play its part in providing a progressive solution to what is a big and increasing problem.”

Dave Perret, a South Devon College apprentice working at the boatyard will be on hand throughout the next two weeks to record the findings and report back to fellow students as part of their NVQ Level 3 Marine Engineering studies.

Paul Singer, Business and Qualification Development Coordinator at South Devon College said: “South Devon College are delighted to be part of this important composites recycling project. Over 75,000 tonnes of end-of-life composites is generated in the UK each year, with the majority ending up in land fill. This pilot project will not only provide the evidence for larger scale projects but also raise awareness of dealing with waste composites with our students.”

James Scott-Anderson from Marine Environmental Specialists Blue Parameters, who are heading up the specialist delivery of the project, commented: “This is a significant step in tackling the challenge of EOL and abandoned vessels, a practical solution with potential economic value. It demonstrates that for future marine sustainability, stakeholder partnerships like this one are essential to achieve the most impact and deliver the best outcome.”

The Council will release a report on the findings in the summer with the hope of raising awareness of the issues surrounding abandoned and end-of-use boats, and further expanding the project.

Call for sites: EV charging at Parish and Community car parks in Devon

electric car charging

Devon County Council (DCC) has been provisionally allocated £7m by the Department for Transport’s Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) fund.

They are working with district councils and others to develop the project.

This project will enable Devon local authorities to deliver charge points across the county over coming years in parish and community car parks, local authority car parks, and on-street locations.

DCC is now seeking parish councils and community groups interested in hosting an electric vehicle charging point in a car park they own. We understand that many parish, town hall, and community hall car parks are owned by community trusts, and these sites will also be eligible.

If you are interested in hosting an EV charge point, please complete the form linked below. DCC will then assess the sites and provide feedback and further details.

An outline of the proposed charge point type, car park requirements, and proposed delivery approach is included in the link. At this stage, there is no binding commitment needed to the project by parish councils or community groups as this is only a call for sites.

To find out more and complete the form, please click here.

Business Support for Construction


South Hams and West Devon councils are keen to engage with business decision makers in the construction and associated trades industries.

Through Shared Prosperity Funding, free support will be offered to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and increase their green credentials.

Training and events will cover areas such as energy efficiency, waste reduction, and sustainable practices. By equipping SMEs with the knowledge and tools to operate more sustainably in terms of how they run their business, the aim is to enhance their competitiveness in tendering and procurement processes and help reduce the local carbon footprint.

Sign up to our contact database to be kept updated and help shape the conversation. Please fill in this form to find out more.

Events and Webinars


Methane, muck, and money – are we missing a trick with manure? Friday 12 April, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Are we missing a trick with manure management that others around the world are starting to see?

New research suggests the scale of UK methane emissions may be larger than first thought - but that better management could significantly reduce this, while technology could harness emissions to generate energy and income.

This webinar will see two speakers will present on their joint research in this area and highlight key questions and areas of further research: Andy Atkins is Chief Scientist at the International Fugitive Emissions Abatement Association, and Neil Ward is Professor of Rural and Regional Development at the University of East Anglia (UEA), co-lead of the AFN Network+.

Click here to register.

food waste

How Should Policymakers Respond to Growing Need for Emergency Food Services - Wednesday 10 April,
10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Growing financial hardship and the cost-of-living crisis has accelerated the numbers of households in need of food aid across the UK. Emergency food parcels last winter alone have seen distribution rates double since 2020 and have yet to show any sign of slowing down.

As demand for emergency food continues to rise, IPPO reflects on the necessary mechanisms to improve emergency support services.

This public event brings together UK policymakers and food resilience experts to explore the realities and experiences of those who are food insecure. To help inform future poverty policy planning, the International Public Policy Observatory looks at the systemic issues contributing to the rising demand for food, the operational challenges when supporting those in need and the psychological barriers which prevent people from accessing the services available to them.

Click here to register.

Funding and Help

Local School Nature Grants

Schools in England can apply for support from the Learning through Landscapes programme. The Local School Nature grants are intended to help schools offer outdoor learning activities for their pupils.

The scheme provides fully-funded outdoor learning training for staff and £500 of equipment for outdoor learning.

This is not a cash grant:

Training: this includes a two-hour session for up to 30 members of staff that will be delivered outside at your school. Choose your preferred course from the menu of options including gardening for biodiversity, tool use.

Equipment: schools can choose from a selection of pre-approved products  – including woodland activity kits, gardening kits, wildlife cameras and outdoor cooking equipment – up to a total of £500.

All schools – infant, primary and secondary – can apply to the scheme. Early-years settings can also apply but must employ at least five staff and have a dedicated building, either stand alone or part of a school.

The closing dates for 2024 are: 26 April; 6 September; and 8 November

Click here to find out more and apply

Big Bike Revival Summer 2024 - Deadline 25 June 2024

The aim of the Big Bike Revival is to make cycling accessible for everyone.

It provides funding to community and voluntary organisations to deliver free events that encourage people to start cycling, cycle more often or to take up cycling again if they have lost their confidence.

If your organisation can run sessions to encourage more people to cycle, you can apply for a grant of up to £3,500.

Your activities should be for people returning to cycling, complete beginners or people cycling non-regularly. They should include fixing bikes, teaching cycle and maintenance skills, and taking people on led bike rides on local routes.

Funding in this round is for events delivered between 29 March and 31 October 2024.

Applications are accepted from volunteer-led groups, not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises that can engage with non-regular cyclists and people in need in terms of social, economic and health deprivation.

Click here to find out more and apply

South Hams District Council Decarbonisation Grants

Decarbonisation Plan Development

Support for businesses and community organisations to work with a specialist consultant to develop a decarbonisation plan for their business which will identify the steps the business will need to take in order to decarbonise all of its activities. The process typically takes 8 weeks from start to finish. The projected is contracted out to Libraries Unlimited and their Intellectual Property Offices.

Clean Diversification Grants

Grants of up to £10,000 (match funded) available for businesses and community organisations to help diversify their activities or grow their business in ways which are environmentally neutral or beneficial.

Community Resilience Grant

This grant fund aims to support the resilience of community facilities, such as community and village halls, village shops, and other sites which provide a range of services to their local communities.

Priority will be given to facilities where:

  • Limited other community infrastructure exists.
  • Support will demonstrably help to improve the resilience of a facility, either through reduced bills or increased revenue.
  • Facilities will be able to provide additional services to their communities, which are not provided by other local organisations, where a demonstrable need can be shown.

To find out more about these schemes and to apply, click here.

New Research and Publications

Multiple climate records broken in 2023


On 19 March, the World Meteorological Organization published a report which shows how many records were broken in 2023, from greenhouse gas levels, to ocean heat and glacier retreat.

The report confirmed that near surface temperatures reached an average of 1.45 Celsius above pre-industrial baseline. The previous record was 1.29 Celsius in 2016.

To read the full press release, click here.

Report - Enabling green choices for net zero

Westminster government parliament Big Ben

A research briefing paper was recently published by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology looking into enabling more green choices by society.

The Climate Change Committee as often recommended to Government that its strategies should include more policies and guidance and around societal behaviour change.

The report seeks to provide context to this, looking into various sectors that could see more emissions reductions through behaviour change and how this can be achieved.

The report summarises the challenges and options for enabling and encouraging of low-carbon actions by individuals in sectors with the highest emissions

Among the key outcomes of the report, it highlights the importance of making green choices more accessible, affordable, attractive and easy.

To read the report in full click here.

Posted in SHDC.