Read the March edition of GET SuSSed below

Welcome to Get SuSSed, the newsletter where we keep you in the know on all things linked to our Environment Strategy.
Hello from Josh and Cara
Our Environment Officers
We thought you might like to hear from our environment officers this month. Cara Naden works on the Built Environment and Josh Bennett works on the Living Environment.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic they have continued vital work to address the ongoing climate and ecological emergency, including some great opportunities to incorporate green programmes into our recovery response.
There are a number of examples where the environment has been given the chance to thrive. Lockdowns meant a reduction in car use and travel, less disturbance to wildlife and biodiversity, more focus on the food we eat and where it comes from and more people accessing natural spaces and engaging with nature than ever before.
“We have been very busy since starting at SSDC a year ago, working on delivering the SSDC Environment Strategy helping to get to carbon neutrality by 2030 and supporting the recovery of biodiversity. From supporting the transition to electric transport and decarbonising council buildings to planting thousands of trees across South Somerset, connecting habitats and setting up the community Environment Champions network, we have enjoyed being involved in creating positive solutions to the climate and ecological emergency, and look forward to achieving more with your help and support ”
Best eco wishes Josh and Cara x
SSDC Green News
How South Somerset District Council is taking action in a five-point action plan including environment
Helping our communities recover from the impact of COVID-19, delivering town centre regeneration, addressing child poverty and a commitment to being a sustainable South Somerset are SSDC’s key priorities for the coming year.
The council’s annual plan for 2021/22 has been agreed by our councillors and sets out where and how we will be taking action to improve the lives of everyone in our district.
The Action Plan sets out five clear priorities for the coming year and point five states that we accelerate action to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change and extreme weather
Crewkerne & Chard
E-Scooter Trial Is Live!
As part of the official Department for Transport’s (DfT) authorised e-scooter trials, SSDC in partnership with micro-mobility operator Zwings, has launched fleets of rental electric scooters in Chard and Crewkerne. This second phase of the trials follows the success of the e-scooter hire service launched in Yeovil last October. As of 26 March Zwings e-scooters will be available for hire via the Zwings app from 10 designated e-scooter parking bays in Chard and 11 in Crewkerne.
Read the full story here
Electric Vehicle Share Scheme Survey
There is still time to have your say on a potential Electric Vehicle sharing scheme.
Please do take a couple of minutes to complete the survey here with Co-Cars before 30 April. Your input is really valuable to evaluate the viability of such a scheme based on interest.
We’ve already had a great response, so thank you to everyone who has already completed the questionnaire. We’ve also had interest from local press and radio. Our Portfolio Holder for Environment Councillor Sarah Dyke gave an interview with BBC radio Somerset to talk more about it. You can listen here, just fast forward to 0710am.
5570 Trees Planted Across South Somerset
Thanks to everyone involved with the numerous SSDC Tree Planting initiatives happening across South Somerset. So far 5570 trees are in the ground!
This is very much a collective achievement from you in the communities and our countryside and street scene teams.
Pictured: Cllr Sarah Dyke helping out at in Martock
We delivered 3000 trees, stakes, and guards out to you through the Great Parish Tree Giveaway, which saw trees planted and distributed across the whole district.
Thanks to the Urban Tree Challenge we managed to fund the planting of 900 feather-sized trees in Chard and Martock to help reduce the impacts of future flooding and develop more connected canopy cover within an urban setting.
Our Countryside team have been doing an excellent job, and this season have planted 670 trees of which 570 were planted at Wyndham Hill in Yeovil, our own Portfolio Holder for environment Sarah Dyke got stuck in to help too.
And last, but not least, we were able to rescue 1000 young oaks from being destroyed early in 2020. These have been cared for and brought on by the team at our Lufton Nursery, and planted by our Street Scene team in a number of strategic points across our district.
We look forward to seeing any pictures you may have from planting the Great Parish Tree giveaway trees, and any other good news stories around trees.
Send them to us at ssdcenvironment@southsomersetgov.uk
Planting trees across South Somerset. Clockwise: Phil Paulton and Cllr Jason Baker, Cllr Martin Carnell, one of our Great Parish Tree Giveaway recipients at Henstridge and tree planting at Chard Reservoir.
Pit Wood Near Ham Hill
Tree Planting For Local School Children
Recently, the team at Ham Hill hosted a virtual tree plant with Norton-Sub-Hamdon Primary School because at the time the school children were unable to be involved due to lock down restrictions. So the team did the digging for them and tied a yellow ribbon around each tree with a child’s name on it so they can visit their tree as soon as allowed, and enjoy watching it grow as they grow up too.
Yeovil Rivers Community Trust Doing Sterling Work at Dodham Brook Yeovil Country Park
Photo credits: Yeovil Community Rivers Trust
If you’ve been down to Yeovil Country Park recently you may have spotted the progress made on the enhancement work, along Dodham Brook, between the footbridge and weir that’s been carried out by volunteers from the Yeovil Community Rivers Trust.
Three bench structures (like islands in the brook) have now been installed to help promote the restoration of the natural river processes and provide a diversified habitat for the animals living along Dodham Brook. This includes the colony of endangered water voles who live within Yeovil Country Park, kingfishers, fish, and an array of other wildlife.
Secured by timber posts and coir matting, they are packed with brushwood bundles (made from spare branch material around Yeovil Country Park) inside the frames. This creates a fantastic underwater habitat for fish and invertebrates. Silt is also added on top, providing a great space for planting native wild aquatic plants this spring.
A big thank you to Yeovil Rivers Community Trust and everyone who has been involved in this stage of the project. You can find out more about the great work YRCT do here
South Somerset Parish Environment Champions
Parish Environment Champion Event
Don’t miss the chance to be part of the change that is Recycle More
21 APRIL 2021 7pm
Somerset Waste Partnership – Recycle More Workshop
CALLING ALL PARISH ENVIRONMENT CHAMPIONS!
Be a Recycle More ambassador for your community.
The new way of recycling is coming to South Somerset this summer, so make sure you’re in the know.
We will be welcoming Micky Green from Somerset Waste Partnership who will explain how Recycle More works and answer questions. If you haven’t signed up yet, look out for an invitation reminder from us in your inbox early next week, along with a link to sign up to the regular newsletter from SWP. We look forward to seeing you there.
Spring Resource Pack
We recently sent our Parish Environment Champions a Spring Resource Pack full of environmental topics to think about at this time of the year.
We thought our readers might like to read it too, so here it is for your perusal. There is so much we can do to help wildlife at this time of year.
Waste and Litter
CPRE Need You!
Join up to be a Two Minute Litter Picker Volunteer
Kind and decent people hate litter and are left frustrated on a daily basis to see how some people treat nature, wildlife and the beautiful outdoor spaces and there are many people who want to, or are already, doing something about it.
CPRE, the countryside charity, formerly known as the Campaign to Protect Rural England, have launched a new Somerset #2minute Litterpick Project and invite you to become a part of it. Funded by a grant from national CPRE, they are recruiting a small army of 100 #2minute Litterpicking Volunteers who will carry out regular clean ups of their local patch. They can kit you out with your very own litterpicker, hi vis vest, CPRE bag and gloves – you just need to commit to doing a regular litterpick locally and to keep in touch with them.
They have a dedicated Facebook Group especially for volunteers and are encouraging all #2minute LItterpickers to sign the Somerset Waste Pledge Against Preventable Plastic. They also plan to run an event for our volunteers in 2021 to share ideas and experiences.
So – If you live in Somerset and can spare 2 minutes regularly to help reduce litter and pollution in your countryside, CPRE would love to hear from you.
Additionally, there will soon be #2minute litterpick stations at key visitor locations so everyone can join in and do their bit to keep Somerset beautiful and clean.
Ham Hill will have a litter pick station funded by The Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and SSDC have applied for stations at Yeovil Country Park and Chard Reservoir, working in partnership with CPRE.
Find out more about joining the #2minutelitterpick volunteers or any of the other great initiatives lead by the CPRE here.
Consultation On The Waste Prevention Programme
Defra are consulting on a new Waste Prevention Programme for England: Towards a Resource Efficient Economy that sets out priorities for action to manage our resources and waste in accordance with the waste hierarchy – which means preventing waste by amongst other things increasing reuse, repair and remanufacture of products.
The Programme outlines the potential for, and benefits of, action on waste prevention, what industry is already doing and could do, as well as setting out actions for government.
Green Business
Eco Friendly businesses, community groups and organisations can apply to be listed in the new SSDC Great Green Directory, a one-stop-shop where South Somerset residents can find local trusted sustainable, and environmentally friendly businesses, community groups and organisations, to help them make eco and ethical choices when choosing products and services. The directory will be showcased on our new environment website which is coming soon!
If you are a business or community group know one who has fantastic eco credentials then we would love to hear from you. It’s free to list, just fill out the questionnaire here.
Grants and Funding
The Climate Action Fund Round 2
Deadline 8th April
The Natural Lottery Fund is inviting community-led partnerships in the UK to apply for development grants up to £150,000 and larger grants up to £1.5 million to take forward more developed proposals from UK community-led partnerships that will have a significant positive impact on climate change.
Who can apply: community-led partnerships in the UK with a broad cross-section of partners, including registered charities, voluntary and community organisations, Community Interest Companies (CICs), Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIOs), Community Benefit Societies (CBS), Cooperative Societies, schools and not-for-profit companies limited by guarantee.
The National Lottery Community Fund’s Climate Action Fund is a predominantly revenue-based, £100 million grant scheme available across the UK, which is designed to enable local communities to take action to address climate change. Round 2 is now open to applications with a budget for between £8,000,000 and £10,000,000 for medium to large-scale community-led projects that will address waste and consumption. Up to 15 grants are expected to be awarded in this round. Don’t miss out! Apply by 8th April. Find out more here
Sustainable Farming and Production
Sustainable Farming Incentive: Defra’s Plans For Pilot Scheme
Next year, all those who currently receive payments under the Basic Payments Scheme will be able to apply for the Sustainable Farming Incentive.
The scheme will help farmers access the money and the advice they need to be effective and ambitious – to encourage environmental land management – so we are building on our work in Tests and Trials.
The Sustainable Farming Incentive will allow farmers to take a fresh look at the land they farm, the natural assets that they have and decide what will work best for their own individual holding. Find out more here
Green Initiatives We Love
Making Room For Nature
How can cattle help Capercaillie birds (a member of the Grouse family) just by walking around?
RSPB Warden Mike Butler looks after a herd of 45 cattle on the Abernethy Reserve in Scotland. He’s managing them in unique ways by tempting them into areas where the forest floor is choked with Heather to make better habitats for Capercaillie and other species within the reserve.
Transition Langport Eco-Challenge Awards
Transition Langport is a group of passionate and like-minded people living in and around Langport who want to build a greener future.
They’re launching the 2021 Win Eco-Challenge Awards to empower and engage the public of Somerset to create environmental change in their own lives and to ultimately help shape the environment across Somerset.
You can get involved and set yourself an eco-challenge and submit for an award prize! From building a pond to ditching your car for short journeys, there are many to choose from and all are doable from and at home. If we all pledge to do at least one of them it will make a big difference collectively.
Green Scythe Fair Community Green Awards
Sadly, The Green Scythe Fair will not be going ahead this year but hope to be back in 2022!
However, not to be disheartened, The Green Scythe Fair would like to show its appreciation of the hard work people are putting in during these very challenging times by launching a Community Awards Scheme.
You can nominate yourself or others, be they individuals or groups . The goal is to find and recognise people who are doing the most for their community and for the planet.
Awards will be made recognising the resilience and creativity of those working to support others and the environment during the lockdown period.
There are 4 awards of £500 plus a FREE pitch at the next event!
Community groups and individuals across Somerset, Dorset and Devon are invited to enter the award scheme, outlining how you have
  • Come up with innovative ways of overcoming the challenges of the pandemic
  • Benefited one or all of the following: local community, wildlife, the environment.
The winners will be announced on Sunday June 13th 2021
Understanding Pollinators Pod Cast
Pollination is arguably among the most important ecological processes on our planet. Entire careers have been devoted to trying to understand the countless nuances to plant pollination and yet we have only uncovered the tip of the iceberg. Pollination ecologist, Dr. Jeff Ollerton talks about his new book “Pollinators & Pollination: Nature & Society,” which takes a deep dive into what we currently know about pollination, why it is important for both nature and society, and what we can do to protect these invaluable ecological interactions. If you care at all about the natural world, this is one episode you don’t want to miss.
Bug Life – Conserving The Invertabrates
Buglife is the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates. They work hard to save Britain’s rarest little animals, everything from bees to beetles, worms to woodlice and jumping spiders to jellyfish.
‘If we and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world’s ecosystems would collapse.’ Sir David Attenborough.
Get involved, find out about buglife near you, create a wildlife garden for bugs, or get the youngsters involved – many children are fascinated by bugs so why not check out bug activities for the upcoming Easter holidays? Everything you need to know is here
Bruton Town Council-led Retrofit Project is awarded £75,000 from the County’s Climate Emergency Community Fund
Bruton Town Council is delighted to announce that it has been awarded £75,000 by Somerset County Council for its “Retrofit Bruton & Cary” Project, which has been developed jointly with Castle Cary Town CouncilOne Planet BrutonGreener Cary and the Centre for Sustainable Energy.
The 18-month project will combine the professional expertise of the Centre for Sustainable Energy with detailed local knowledge to develop a functioning local market which delivers high-quality low-carbon improvements to the local housing stock. A professionally qualified retrofit co-ordinator will give independent advice to homeowners about the best and most carbon-efficient way of improving their homes, at the same time as working with local builders to develop their expertise in low-carbon retrofitting. Congratulations to the project partners we look forward to sharing the progress of this important pilot project!
Green Titbits
Earth Hour 27 March
Put the spotlight on the earth and speak up for nature this Earth Hour.
Earth Hour engages millions of people in more than 180 countries and territories, switching off their lights to show support for our planet. Every year, at 8:30 pm on the last Saturday of March, millions of people across the world join in raising awareness of the issues facing our planet.
Switch off your lights for an hour on Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 8:30 pm your local time.
No doubt you’re planning on staying in. There’s a list of 20+ things you can do for a memorable (and impactful) on-the-night experience all from comfort of your home! What will you do in your earth hour? Find out more here
How and what to feed the birds.
Although winter feeding benefits birds most, food shortages can occur at any time of the year. By feeding all year round, you’ll give them a better chance to survive food shortages whenever they may occur.
Can You Spot The Harvest Mouse?
If you’re heading out on a walk in your local area as part of your daily exercise can you keep an eye out for harvest mouse habitats and nests? With two national lockdowns since October the Devon Mammal Group are really struggling for records this season, but there is still time to find them and every nest counts! They are interested in Somerset’s harvest mouse activity too, so if you have any data to share please take part in their survey here
Recommended Read
Feeding Britain by Tim Lang
This book takes stock of the UK food system: where it comes from, what we eat, its impact, fragilities and strengths. It is a book on the politics of food. It argues that the Brexit vote will force us to review our food system. Setting a new course for UK food is no easy task but it is a process, this book urges, that needs to begin now. Available online and from all good bookshops.
One To Watch
Judy Dench – My Passion For Trees
With the help of some of the best tree scientists and the latest scientific equipment at her disposal, Judi unlocks the remarkable secret lives of trees.
Through the cycle of the four seasons, she’ll hear her trees drink, discover how they feel, learn how they communicate and how they fight off invading armies. Through amazing research we learn more about how trees can communicate and contribute to the forest, sharing resources with seedlings or the vulnerable. It’s confirmation for Judi that trees aren’t just trees, they are a real community that helps each other, humans, and the planet.
Life-affirming and fascinating. Click on the link below to watch this magical film!
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And before you go don’t forget the Council’s Consultation on the Future of Local Authorities in Somerset – this is a public consultation and a chance to get involved and have your say before it closes on the 19th April
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We want you to feel part of Get SuSSed and get involved. If you have any questions, an environment story to tell, news, views or ideas please get in touch at ssdcenvironment@southsomerset.gov.uk
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