Before becoming one Somerset Council, each of the former district councils and the County Council were already working towards climate resilience. You can read the previous plans and strategies from each former council here.

Mendip District Council

Carbon Management Plan
Adopted in August 2021 Mendip’s Carbon Management Plan detailed a number of actions to become carbon neutral by 2030.

View Mendip’s Carbon Management Plan.

You can also view a summary.

Climate Actions
A commitment was made to provide updates at Full Council meetings every 6 months on all actions towards Mendip’s Carbon Management Plan. The full list of all updated reports is below:

District Emissions Reporting
In order to track the impact of emissions from the district an annual report was presented on emissions trends in Mendip. Due to delays in data publishing 2019 was the most up-to-date year able to be reported on before the formation of Somerset Council.

Carbon Footprint
The council also committed to updating annual its own carbon footprint as detailed below:

Sedgemoor District Council

The former Sedgemoor District Council declared a Climate Emergency in March 2019, and in July 2022 declared an Ecological Emergency. The council’s Climate Emergency Strategy and Action Plan was published in 2021 and approved by their Full Council on 22 February 2021. Their joint Ecological Action Plan in partnership with the former Somerset West and Taunton District Council was published in July 2022.

Climate Strategy and Ecological Emergency Action Plans
The Climate Strategy and Ecological Emergency Action Plan can all be seen below along with a consultation report run by Somerset Climate Action Network.

Some of the actions taken by Sedgemoor District Council towards their Climate Strategy included:

  • Replacing 416 streetlights in car parks, housing estate walkways with LED bulbs. Reducing electricity consumption by 60%
  • 24 of the 30 our car park ticket machines have been replaced so they are powered by solar and not mains electricity
  • Installing tap aerators in the taps at their main offices Bridgwater House in Bridgwater, to save water. Installing LED lights at Bridgwater House to reduce electricity consumption
  • Running an electric and a hybrid (electric and petrol) pool car since 2015. The all-electric car saved 12,569kg carbon over 4 years
  • Adopted a transport strategy with a focus on encouraging more sustainable transport including cycling and walking – The Bridgwater Way
  • The first council in Somerset to adopt a single-use plastic policy

Sustainable Sedgemoor Newsletter
Sedgemoor ran a monthly newsletter for their climate champions updating on climate activity across their district. You can view all previous editions of Sustainable Sedgemoor.

Somerset West and Taunton Council

Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience (CNCR) Action Plan
The Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience (CNCR) Action Plan was approved at Full Council on 26 October 2020.

The CNCR Action Plan is made up of:

Ecological Emergency Vision and Action Plan in July 2022
The former Somerset West and Taunton, and Sedgemoor District Councils published a joint Ecological Emergency Vision and Action Plan in July 2022.

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Somerset West and Taunton Ecological Emergency Vision

PDF, 1.83MB
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Proposed Ecological Emergency Action Plan

PDF, 1.77MB

Some additional actions undertaken by the council included:

  • Declaring its authority boundary a fracking-free zone in July 2019
  • Beginning to retrofit council properties in Spring 2022 to improve their energy efficiency
  • Rolling out electric vehicle charging points after receiving a grant of £136,000 and grants provided to parish and town councils for installations
  • A full decarbonisation strategy for their main offices with phase 2 then focused on the council’s smaller buildings
  • Over 60kg of wildflower seed was sown across open spaces to support local wildlife and had its own in-house tree nursery which is peat free
  • Approving two zero-carbon developments based on its Zero Carbon Affordable Homes Pilot. North Taunton Woolaway project delivering 227 social and affordable homes, and Seaward Way, Minehead for 54 homes
  • Developing a series of climate-friendly planning guidance. Including:
    • Linkages between Climate and Ecological Emergencies have been improved
    • Commentary in relation to the national legislative and policy contexts has been updated with regards to the Environment Act, Building Regulations, Net Zero Strategy, Heat and Buildings Strategy and Levelling Up White Paper
    • Links to the Districtwide Design Guide SPD and Public Realm Design Guide SPD have been strengthened. They better explain better how they work with existing policy, building regulations and aspirations to go further (particularly regarding building standards)
    • Linkages have been added in relation to the Net Zero Carbon Toolkit in a similar vein. Originally published by Cotswold District Council in partnership with The Centre for Sustainable Energy
    • Once enforced, compliance with Part L 2021 of the Building Regulations will replace the specific carbon reduction requirements of policy DM5. However, other parts of DM5 will continue to be relevant. Developers are strongly encouraged to work towards zero carbon and the standards set out in the Districtwide Design Guide SPD and the SWT Net Zero Carbon Toolkit
    • In advance of national mandatory requirements coming into force, our existing planning policies do not require biodiversity net gain in all circumstances. However, the council has worked to secure a 10% net gain in biodiversity from development proposals. This is through a combination of existing policies, the NPPF , the declaration of an Ecological Emergency and clear intent from the Environment Act. It also includes the upgraded Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act duty for local authorities to conserve and enhance biodiversity.

View the full consultation report.

Document preview
Climate Positive Planning Consultation Report

PDF, 564KB

Somerset West and Taunton Council published a monthly climate newsletter. You can view all previous editions of the newsletter.

South Somerset District Council

Carbon Footprint
In 2019, as part of the climate and ecological emergency, the former South Somerset District Council (SSDC) pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030 and calculated its carbon footprint.  This resulted in setting a year-on-year 10% carbon reduction target.

Decarbonising our energy
Over the past decade SSDC installed renewable energy technologies on its buildings to help generate fossil fuel free energy for its energy use. Several offices have Photovoltaic Panels (PVs) installed. There are four arrays on the council offices at Brympton Way, as well as arrays on the crematorium, Lufton depot, Petters House and Wincanton sports centre.

In autumn 2020, SSDC was successful in obtaining a substantial Government grant through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. This was to help with

  • increasing energy efficiency
  • installing renewable energy technologies
  • replacing gas for heating and hot water with air and ground source heat pumps on its highest energy-consuming buildings.

A second phase in 2022 continued the decarbonisation improvements across the estate. Upon project completion, the predicted Carbon savings are 698.09 tCO2e per annum.

We supported the 2020 Government Local Electricity Bill and in April 2021, SSDC switched its electricity tariff across the SSDC estate to a 100% Renewable Energy Guarantees Origin (REGO) backed renewable energy supply.

Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme
In 2020, SSDC contracted energy and regeneration company Engie to conduct an energy audit on their highest energy-consuming buildings and developed a net zero carbon roadmap for the council.

To carry out the recommendations, SSDC applied to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) for grant funding. This was to install energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies across their estate, including additional solar panels, air-source heat pumps, insulation, glazing and lighting.

Due to supply chain issues during the pandemic, the project was delayed. A portion of the funding was re-directed to help de-carbonise our leisure centres across the district. This project is predicted to significantly reduce carbon emissions helping the council on its way to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

Yeovil library has undergone a transformation to make the building greener and more energy efficient as part of Somerset Council’s commitment to decarbonising its buildings.

The project has seen a new air source heat pump installed, lamps changed to LEDs, new thermally efficient windows, improved ventilation with carbon dioxide monitors, and extra insulation.

Read more about the Yeovil Library project (PDF 424KB).

Freedom Leisure sites
Work to introduce solar power to three Freedom Leisure sites across South Somerset was completed in 2022. It is estimated to save 21 tonnes of carbon emissions per year, the equivalent of taking 11 cars off the road.

Funded by the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, solar panels have been installed at Westlands Sports Centre (Yeovil), Wincanton Sports Centre and Goldenstones Leisure Centre (Yeovil). This work is part of a development plan which will see over £6 million invested across the three sites to improve environmental efficiency, customer experience, accessibility, services and facilities.

Further plans to introduce air source heat pumps at all three leisure centre sites will increase the CO2 reductions to 435 tonnes, the equivalent of taking 229 cars off the road.

Battery Storage Plant
SSDC developed and invested heavily in an innovative Battery Energy Storage Site (BESS) project near Taunton. This is to help store renewable energy and reduce wastage when too much is being produced. When there is more power being supplied from renewables than the National Grid requires energy will be stored at the site. This electricity can then be fed back into the grid later when the demand has increased.

This has now been expanded to 30 megawatts (MW) to maximise the capability of the site. This is by working in partnership with the following national and international businesses:

  • BYD
  • Opium Power Ltd
  • Western Power Distribution
  • British Solar Renewables Ltd
  • Kiwi Power Ltd
  • National Grid

Through our joint venture company SSDC Opium Power Ltd, another 40MW Battery Energy Storage site near Fareham in Hampshire is now being built, funded by us, which will be one of the most advanced in the UK. The first phase is now live. To find out more, you can view Opium Power’s website.

Get SuSSed Newsletter
SSDC ran a monthly newsletter – get SuSSed – keeping the community up to date on all things linked to their environmental strategy. A complete list of all editions can be found below:


Document preview
Achievements and Delivery List

SSDC’s Environment Strategy (2019 to 2021)

PDF, 744KB
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South Somerset Environment Strategy

PDF, 4.15MB
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Yeovil Library

Yeovil Library has undergone a transformation to make the building greener and more energy efficient

PDF, 424KB

Last reviewed: July 11, 2024 by John

Next review due: January 11, 2025

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