Towards a climate resilient Somerset
We are committed to tackling climate change and are working towards a carbon neutral Somerset by 2030. But we can’t do it alone and we need everyone in Somerset to do their bit. Find out what you can do to help protect Somerset against the effects of climate change, at home, at school, at work and more. Let’s build a climate resilient Somerset together.
27 Jan 2022
Somerset leads the way on climate action
Somerset County Council has been ranked as the top county council in the UK when it…...
25 Jan 2022
New primary school marks a milestone
A new £7.3 million primary free school planned for Taunton will be sponsored by The Castle…...
Climate Resilient Somerset films
Every Tuesday and Friday at 8pm this month, we’re premiering a series of climate change films showcasing projects around Somerset that are already doing their bit to help Somerset become carbon neutral by 2030.
Somerset Waste Partnership is making it easier for residents to recycle their household waste with the aim of reducing the amount of rubbish going into landfill. Find out more about the work they’re doing below.
Other climate change films shown this month
Individuals and communities
Read about everyday changes you can make to help prevent global warming. Including how to calculate your personal carbon footprint, change how you travel and information on waste and recycling.Read more
We are asking everyone who runs a business in Somerset to consider ways in which their business can help tackle climate change. Find out how to calculate your business carbon footprint, read our Carbon Audit Toolkit for Businesses and find other useful resources. You can also read about some of the businesses that benefited from the Carbon Reduction Grants for Business Scheme.Read more
Climate Emergency Community Fund
Somerset County Council’s £1 million Climate Emergency Community Fund launched in 2020 to encourage community projects that share the Council’s vision of working towards a climate resilient Somerset.
The projects below are among 43 that have been awarded grant funding.
Get inspired - projects awarded grant funding
Good Vibe Veg
This innovative project has already begun supplying vegetables to a local farm shop and to local people, reaping the benefits of ‘low carbon miles’ local produce. Reducing our carbon footprint is not just about tackling the threat posed by climate change, it’s also about making the environment a better place – for people and for nature. With a real emphasis on ‘local food’, this model of small-scale, sustainable agriculture allows farmers and growers to make a reasonable living by growing quality, fresh, healthy food for and with their local community.
Pedal for the Planet
Pedal for the Planet aims to encourage the local community to get cycling more often and more safely – for healthier people and a healthier planet! This innovative, community and volunteer led project for Muchelney and Kingsbury Episcopi Parishes on the Somerset Levels has already put on a fantastic programme of cycling workshops and activities for all ages and abilities. And as well as repairing bikes, the scheme offers beginners’ bike safety and care workshops, providing local people with sustainable and eco-friendly transport.
Quote from a parent who attended the Road Skills Course
“My son absolutely loved it and we were so pleased that he could learn some new skills in a safe environment as the roads can be quite dangerous. It’s really important to us that the kids enjoy cycling, not just because it’s fun and keeps them healthy but it’s one way that we easily cut our carbon footprint.”
Wiveliscombe Community Swimming Pool
‘Wivey Pool’ was built in 1927 and is one of the oldest pools in Somerset. It’s an open air, heated swimming pool, open between May and September each year and is run for the community, by the community. The addition of this new 10 kW solar panel array will significantly reduce the pool’s electricity bills, saving at least 10.5 tons of carbon emissions a year.
Baltonsborough Parish Council Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points
The community has grabbed the opportunity to ‘go green’ with the funding going towards Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points, solar panels and additional energy saving measures. On top of all that, the playing field will benefit from a new hedge, seeding of wildflowers and a new mowing regime. The photo shows Councillor Mary Phillips making great use of the new EV charging points.
Otterhead Hydro-Electricity Turbine Project
A new hydro-electric turbine will provide clean power to a Forest School near Taunton, replacing a noisy and polluting diesel generator at the site which is part of the Otterhead Estate. Work is now underway and once complete the new turbine will deliver significant savings and provide a useful teaching tool by restoring an important heritage feature – water was originally used at Otterhead to power a mill. The new sustainable power source will also allow the Coach House building to be used to host a much wider range of community events, such as meetings, performances and celebrations.
Stogumber Outdoor Learning Shelter
Built on the Beacon Field, opposite the Village Hall and Stogumber Primary School, the shelter is ideally situated to be used and enjoyed by the local community and visitors to the parish. The newly-erected shelter is available for the whole community to use in all weather for a wide range of environmentally-inspired and educational activities. Made from resilient, natural materials and sustainable timber, the shelter requires minimal upkeep and no additional energy input post construction. The shelter acts as a hub to be used by the whole community for small groups to learn about the ecology, biodiversity and carbon capture as well as offering an inspirational outdoor space to respond to nature through creative arts. It’s part of the village’s commitment to mitigating the effects of climate change through experience and education, with the aim of encouraging behavioural and lifestyle changes.
Solar power for Cheddar Community Pavilion
Cheddar Parish Council has recently completed the installation of solar panels on the Community Pavilion at Sharpham Road playing fields. The project provides a renewable energy source for the community space, reducing the carbon footprint of the activities at the pavilion.
It is anticipated the solar powers will significantly reduce the energy bills for the pavilion, and the savings can then be used on further projects within the parish that address climate change.
More information: Solar Panels installed at the pavilion – Cheddar Parish Council
Curry Rivel Parish Council Projects
Curry Rivel Parish Council is working on two projects which will help benefit the villagers and the environment, thanks to Somerset County Council’s Climate Emergency Fund.
The first project is to investigate initiatives to provide sustainable heating and power generation in Curry Rivel. The council has already invested in a thermal imaging camera which local residents can use to track heat loss from their homes in winter. Read more here
The second is looking at the feasibility of creating a new cycle/footpath between Curry Rivel and Huish Episcopi. The existing footpath between the two villages is quite narrow and overgrown, and as such residents are inclined to take the car when travelling from one village to the other rather than walk or cycle. Read more here
Dulverton traders go plastic free
Traders in the Exmoor market town of Dulverton have unveiled new jute and paper bags for their customers in a bid to become more eco-friendly and move away from using plastic bags.
The bags feature Dulverton’s new branding including the logo with an artistic impression of an Exmoor stag forming the letter D.
This means the initiative will not only benefit the environment, but it will raise the profile of the town’s shops and businesses too.
A new electric wheelchair accessible car coming to Watchet
Watchet Town Council applied to the Somerset County Council Climate Emergency Fund as lead partner with Sampford Brett and Bicknoller Parish Councils and Watchet Drives and BickLifts Community Car Schemes for funding for a community electric car. A proposal was drafted for a wheelchair accessible electric community car that could be shared between parishes and would show how community transport could be operated at a lower cost per mile, produce far less carbon emission (even on full life cycle analysis), be Covid safe and provide transport for disabled and disadvantaged members of the Watchet community. The application was successful and included funding for a coordinator of the new and the existing community car run by Watchet Drives. The Town Council have now purchased and insured the vehicle which is shown here with the Village Agent about to board.
Use the circles or arrows above to scroll through some of the projects that have been awarded grant funding.
More news and events
Carbon Neutral Somerset
In Somerset, we’re taking climate change very seriously. We’ve made big investments, but there are small steps we can all take to help towards our goal of a carbon neutral Somerset by 2030. This month we’ll be sharing a series of films showcasing amazing community projects already taking place. Keep your eyes peeled for the first video on Friday (7 Jan). Find out more and get notified when the video goes live here
Green Homes Grant Scheme
Residents across Somerset can benefit from free energy efficiency improvements worth up to £10,000 thanks to receiving a share of a multi-million pound Government-funded programme, led by West of England Combined Authority, working with E.ON and Happy Energy Solutions.
Hands up for green school grants
Schools across Somerset are urged to put their hands up for the first ever Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) eco-school grants.
As part of its commitment to encouraging waste reduction, reuse and recycling, SWP is offering grants of £500 to up to 50 schools to help them participate in the Eco Schools Programme.
Eco-Schools is an international initiative operating in 68 countries. It gives schools a structured approach to engaging and empowering pupils and teachers in projects and initiatives that help protect the environment.
Exmoor - Climate Action
Exmoor National Park Authority members have agreed an action plan to work towards the Authority being carbon neutral by 2030 and are working with the UK’s 15 National Parks on coordinated action to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.
E-scooters - have you jumped on board?
Have you noticed e-scooters hanging around on street corners in some Somerset towns? Wonder what they are doing there? They are waiting for you to jump on board!
Somerset West and Taunton District Council are running e-scooters trials in chosen towns around Somerset. Zipp Mobility e-scooters can be found in Taunton and Minehead – find full details about the scheme and how to use them here.
The e-scooters will be available until March 2022 and are part of a Department of Transport trial to investigate if e-scooters are a viable option to help reduce car journeys. The e-scooters in this trial may be used on roads, cycle lanes and cycle tracks in the trial areas only, they are not permitted on pedestrian pathways.
Grow, eat, compost, repeat - making the most of your garden
The return of garden waste collections signals the start of the growing year, from planting early food crops on an allotment to enjoying snowdrops and other new arrivals in your flower beds. Check your days for garden waste and other kerbside services at somersetwaste.gov.uk. You can also now start a new or additional 12-month garden waste collection at any time during the year.
As you plan your low-waste garden year, take full advantage of the opportunities for reuse, whether repurposing plastic bottles as mini cloches or hanging CDs as bird scarers. If you have a garden or allotment, make good use of food waste by composting all suitable materials, from veg peelings to tea leaves. You can find useful help and a bargain compost bin offer here: somersetwaste.gov.uk/home-composting.
Modeshift STARS - Travel plan resources for schools
Somerset County Council and Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP) have teamed up with Modeshift STARS to give all schools the opportunity to be recognised for supporting Sustainable and Active Travel by developing a School Travel Plan through the Modeshift STARS Education Accreditation Programme.
County Hall energy efficiency works
Below are some images which show the start of site preparatory works outside and underneath B Block, County Hall being delivered by Willmott Dixon. These works will result in this building being far more energy efficient and will also meet a number of the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme measures.
Earlier this year, the Council successfully bid for £4.1m grant from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The works at B Block, County Hall involve replacing all the windows, roof and wall insulation, putting in energy efficient heating and air circulation systems, and increasing the number of solar panels. These works will take place in stages as each of the eight elevations of B Block are completed over the coming months.
Use the circles or arrows above to scroll through the local and national news.
Do you have a climate emergency story to share?
We want you to show us what your community is doing to help tackle the climate emergency. Please get in touch with the team using the email below. We’d love to share your stories on our website and social media channels.
Contact the Team