Click on the headings below to read about some of our projects
Government climate change advisers on fact-finding trip to Somerset
Experts who advise the Government on emission targets have visited Somerset to find out more about the local challenges of tackling climate change.
Current C02 emissions in Somerset
You can find out on the Somerset Trends website how we are doing in Somerset with historic and recent C02 emissions, otherwise known as greenhouse gases. There are both natural and human sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Natural sources include decomposition, ocean release and respiration. Human sources come from activities like cement production, deforestation as well as the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.
Due to human activities, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has been rising extensively since the Industrial Revolution.
In 2017 a total of 3285 kt (kilotons) of CO2 were emitted in Somerset from industrial, domestic and transport-related sources. For context, a kiloton of carbon is emitted by 200 average cars in 1 year. In fact, the majority of emissions in Somerset derive from the transport sector – 46.7%, compared to 29.5% from industry and 23.8% from the domestic sector.
Carbon Literacy Project
Somerset County Council has commissioned ClimateGuide to run a series of free, accredited Carbon Literacy training days for Parish and Town Councils. This training is being funded through the Climate Emergency Community Fund to help Town and Parish councils take their own actions on climate change, and has been a huge success so far.
We have also started to run similar training for our own Somerset County Council officers, and will be extending the offer of training to County and District Councillors in due course. You can read testimonials from the Parish and Town council Carbon Literacy Project participants below.
Please note – If you would like to find out more about future training Carbon Literacy training days for your Town or Parish Council, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carbon Literacy Project testimonials
“I recently attended the Carbon Literacy Training. It was the most useful and relevant training event I have attended in a long time. It brought home the immediacy of our situation but also empowered us in the role that we can all play to effect local change. It was brilliantly facilitated and delivered by Rachel and I recommend all to attend.”
Juliet Shrimpton, Langford Budville PC
“Just want to say thank you for organising this training. I guess it was fortuitous that we had it just before the IPCC report release that seemed to immediately increase correspondence on climate change 100-fold.”
“I went straight back to my council and drafted an action plan that was adopted by Full Council and is open to additions by the Environment Working Group. The training continues to inform initiatives, open up conversations and encourage creative ways of reaching all sections of our communities.”
“I would say that it has affected the entire council – because we are now more consciously considering implications across all our committee work.”
Cllr Gill Pettitt – St Cuthbert (Out) Parish Council
Yeovil Library decarbonisation project
Yeovil Library has undergone a transformation to make the building greener and more energy efficient as part of Somerset County Council’s commitment to decarbonise its buildings.
The project has seen a new air source heat pump installed to heat the building in a more sustainable way, lamps changed to LEDs, new thermally efficient windows, improved ventilation with carbon dioxide monitors, and significant additional insulation. The measures will save approximately 27 tonnes of carbon each year.
You can read more about this here
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.
10-year blueprint for cycling and walking network in Somerset launched
Somerset County Council has unveiled plans for major new safe cycling and walking routes in the county to help create greener, healthier and more active streets.
The Co-Adapt Project (2019-2023)
The Co-Adapt project (2019-2023) involves 12 partners spanning 4 countries; UK, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. The partner organisations are working across the international borders to share knowledge and experience.
The areas covered are all facing similar climate consequences of flooding and drought and are running local projects to adapt to the Climate Emergency.
Co-Adapt has received a total of €7 million from the Interreg 2 Seas funding programme – a European Territorial Cooperation Programme. The Programme is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.
New solutions need to be developed and applied to improve resilience. In a context of reduced public financing, better, more robust and cost-effective measures are needed. In response, Co-Adapt’s unique contribution is a strong focus on co-creation of nature based and natural process solutions, in the framework of adaptation pathways – three pillars supporting each other to deliver highly durable results.
1. Co-Adapt will develop, test and roll-out approaches to co-creation of ‘Natural Process Solutions’ (including ‘Natural Flood Management’ / ‘Slow the flow’ measures) to improve adaptive capacity to the water-related effects of climate change
2. The active participation of end-users (i.e. at-risk communities, landowners) will be sought. We call this ‘co-creation’.
3. An Adaptive Pathways Approach will be trialled – this is a technique to better plan for uncertainty in a cost-effective way, that was pioneered on the design of the Thames Barrier, and major coastal defences in The Netherlands.
Within Co-adapt there are three projects improving climate change adaptation in Somerset:
1. Adapting the Levels (led by: SCC, FWAG SW, SWT)
Adapting The Levels is a partnership project dedicated to empowering those who live and work on the Somerset Levels to take action on Climate Adaptation.
2. Porlock Vale Riverlands (led by: National Trust)
Working with European partners to restore natural processes that build a more resilient catchment, develops better habitat, mitigates the impacts of climate change and provides benefits for people and nature. This is a part of the National Trust’s wider ‘Riverlands’ initiative.
3. Connecting the Culm (Devon and Somerset – led by: Blackdown Hills AONB)
Working with nature and local communities, we aim to make the river better for wildlife and people, and more resilient to flood and drought. We want to collaborate with those living in the River Culm catchment to help solve the river’s problems. As a part of this, we will use proven nature-based solutions that provide many other benefits too.
Two Somerset councils' climate emergency plans ranked best in the UK
Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) topped the leader board for district councils with a total score of 92 per cent, while Somerset County Council ranked highest in its category with a score of 63 per cent.
Across all categories, SWT was the only local authority to score above 90 per cent.
County councils received an average score of 40 per cent, while district councils averaged 43 per cent.