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.
26 Jan 2023
Council secures funding for greener roads maintenance trials
Funding to support projects focused on a greener approach to highways maintenance and construction has been…...
4 Jan 2023
Platinum Jubilee Village Hall Fund open now
On Tuesday 20 December, the Government announced that the Platinum Jubilee Village Hall Fund was open…...
Climate Resilient Somerset films
Bruton Retrofitting – How energy efficient is your home? In Bruton, they’re offering free independent advice to help householders reduce the carbon footprint of their home.
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
Timberscombe’s new plan for biodiversity and carbon management
A survey of the biodiversity habitats within the parish of Timberscombe has been carried out, after £5100 from the Somerset Climate Emergency Community Fund was awarded to enable this piece of ecological research.
The Timberscombe Biodiversity Project has allowed a record of every plant and wildlife habitat in the parish to be created, from wetland and grassland, through to built-up areas and broad-leaved woodland.
Aerial photographs followed by on-the-ground fieldwork and relating the findings to the UK Habitat Classification system.
Now, the parish has a defined set of actions based on their specific habitat types, which will allow them to protect and improve biodiversity and improve carbon management within their part of Somerset. These actions include ways of protecting stored carbon so it does not make its way into the atmosphere:
- Increasing the amount of broad-leaved/mixed woodland in Timberscombe
- Reducing or stopping the re-seeding of grasslands
- Reducing sheep stocking density
- Maintaining hedgerows through the centuries-old practice of ‘hedge laying’, encouraging natural growth and creating a living fence
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.”
Solar power for village hub
In the village of Stoke St Gregory near Taunton, the community has clubbed together to purchase The Royal Oak pub and convert it into a hub complete with a village shop, café, pub, and other community facilities.
Stoke St Gregory Parish Council submitted a successful bid to the Somerset Climate Emergency Community Fund so that new solar panels could be placed on the roof of The Royal Oak to reduce the carbon footprint of the enterprise, and save money on energy bills. The money saved will be reinvested in community initiatives.
The Royal Oak is owned by Heart of the Village, a Community Benefit society that has turned the venue into a vibrant social and commercial centre for the village and surrounding community. The Heart of the Village has also taken other steps to make sure the Royal Oak keeps a low carbon footprint such as selling local produce to reduce food miles.
Friends of Longrun Meadow
At the end of last month, a project fund certificate was presented to the Friends of Longrun Meadow Chair, Helen Lawy on behalf of Somerset County Council. This was confirming a grant in excess of £16K awarded to the Longrun Meadow group, who together with Comeytrowe Park, Longrun Meadow, Netherclay Community Woodland and Victoria Park have worked together on the bid. They have made management changes to the open spaces which will help to mitigate climate change. They have been enabled and supported by Somerset West and Taunton.
Helen said: “We have restored existing and ancient hedgerows, planted new lines of hedges and lowered the canopy to create ecotones (transition areas between two biological communities, where two communities meet and integrate) at the margins of wooded areas. We have begun to develop a mosaic of habitats through changes in grassland management and structural management of the edges and margins of hedgerows providing connectivity between habitats. We are creating new signage which will inform local park users and the wider communities about the importance of hedgerow and grassland management.”
People in the certificate presentation photo are from left to right: Steve, Philippa, Dave, Adrian, Cllr John Hunt and FoLM Chair Helen Lawy.
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.
Chedzoy Nature Walk
Around the village of Chedzoy in the Somerset Levels is a 3.2km nature walk with five distinctly different habitats, each area has been created with plants and trees carefully selected for the properties they bring to the environment. Along the route you will find more then 100 different species of plants and trees, easy access gates, resting areas, signage, walking guides and plant ID labels. The walk was created by a passionate group of volunteers know as the Chedzoy Fair Share Project Team and funded by the Somerset County Council’s – Climate Emergency Community Fund.
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
First Somerset school awarded Modeshift STARS
Kingfisher Primary School in Yeovil has become the first Somerset school to receive the nationally recognised bronze Modeshift STARS accreditation for providing safe and sustainable travel environments.
News for schools
Eco schools is a global education programme and run by a charity passionate about engaging young people in environmental education and action. They provide a simple, seven-step framework that guides, empowers and motivates pupils to drive change and improve environmental awareness in their school, local community and beyond. After completing the seven step process, schools can then apply for Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation. Read more here. You can also find out more on the Eco-Schools website
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. Why sign up to Modeshift STARS?
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.
Looking for retrofit early adopters! Have you made energy efficiency improvements to your home and would like to share your story?
We are looking for homeowners in Somerset who have made changes to their home, to share their knowledge and experiences with others through a series of online open homes events. These events are part of the Somerset Retrofit Accelerator project, an initiative to develop the supply chain for low carbon, whole house retrofit of homes in Somerset.
If you think this is something you might like to do or would like more information please fill out the expression of interest form and we will get in touch with you.
If you have any questions please email email@example.com
New scheme offering free cycle stands
Life Cycle UK, a registered charity that works in local communities to encourage and enable cycling have brought their popular Take a Stand® scheme to Somerset – offering free cycle stands to small businesses and community organisations in the area.
The offer includes free delivery and installation of up to four sturdy ‘Sheffield stands’ (parking for up to 8 bikes!) meaning there really is zero cost to the recipients.
The scheme is a great way to help local organisations to be part of a ‘Green Covid Recovery’ and drive more footfall to their doorsteps in these difficult financial times.
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. Find out more here
Joint project creating lasting woodland legacy
Somerset West and Taunton Council and Exmoor National Park Authority are partnering to create a new joint Woodland Creation Officer post to support the delivery of both local and national tree planting and nature recovery targets. The new position, funded by the Council and hosted by the National Park Authority’s woodlands team, will run for an initial two years. Read more here
Have your say on Sustainable Transport
Have you seen our Local Walking and Cycling Plans for Taunton and Yeovil – it’s our blueprint for a comprehensive walking/cycling network for the future and we want to hear your views.
Use the map link below to have your say on active travel in both your local area and across Somerset. This includes barriers which reduce your travel choices. Your comments will be used to inform the development of our Local Transport Plan, making sure Somerset’s streets are welcoming places for everyone.
Somerset Retrofit Accelerator Project
The Somerset Retrofit Accelerator project is a partnership between Frome, Bruton and Glastonbury Town Councils, the four District Councils in Somerset, Somerset Independence Plus and the Centre for Sustainable Energy. The six-month pilot project is funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.
Latest news from Somerset Waste Partnership
Latest news briefing from Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) Read more
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. Find out more
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