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What have we done so far.....

Retrofit and Energy Efficiency

Secured £900,000 in Green Homes Grants, through the Governments Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme. We are also involved in the Devon wide involved sustainable warmth grant project, which will bring another £580k of grants to upgrade energy inefficient homes of low-income households.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

We launched an initiative to help longer-term let landlords meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).

The support package on offer from the District Council includes grants to help landlords improve the energy efficiency of their property. This includes ways to improve the energy efficiency of homes such as, roof and wall insulation, replacement heating systems or draught proofing. 

The Council is working in partnership with Tamar Energy Community to help landlords meet these standards and will be investigating properties that do not.


Retrofit Behavioral Insights

The Council is also working with the Local Government Association and Social Engine through the LGA's Behavioural Insights programme to  understand why home-owners are not taking the necessary steps to retrofit their properties (rented or otherwise) even when a wide range of grant funding is available and what messages and measures could be adopted to stimulate this change.


During the second half of 2022 and into 2023 the team (Social Engine, Plymouth City Council, South Hams District Council, West Devon Borough Council, East Devon District Council and Devon County Council) will develop an intervention which can be trialled, at scale, with learning intended to inform future work in the area and beyond


Carbon Literacy

Following Carbon Literacy Training for our senior leaders, South Hams District Council has been awarded bronze level as a Carbon Literate Organisation. Further training is now being offered internally to a wider range of staff levels.

A Carbon Literate Organisation is an organisation that has been accredited by The Carbon Literacy Project as being “culturally Carbon Literate”; maintaining a substantial proportion of its workforce as Carbon Literate and demonstrating its Carbon Literacy through its organisational behaviour.


Carbon Literacy is an awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis.


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EV Charging

In addition to EV chargers installed by the Council at its HQ at Follaton House and Glanvilles Mill car park in Ivybridge, The first new Electric Vehicle (EV) charge points planned for 9 public car parks across South Hams are now ready for public use in Dartmouth's Mayors Avenue Car Park, Creek Car Park in Salcombe, Quay Car Park in Kingsbridge and Pavillions Car Park and Victoria Car Park in Totnes


These charging points are part of the larger DELETTI programme, a £1.3 million project which is being largely funded by the European Regional Development Fund. 

Powered by renewable energy through a green tariff, the charge points are compatible with all makes of EVs and will fully charge a 50 kWh battery in two to four hours, providing a range of up to 200 miles depending on vehicle specification.


Additional funding for Off Street Residential Charging was secured in additional to this for the following car parks;

a. North Street, Totnes

b. Steamer Quay, Totnes

c. Lower Union Road, Kingsbridge

d. Duncombe Park, Kingsbridge

An EV strategy is currently in development and due to consulted on in February 2023. A draft presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee can be found here.

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Grounds Maintainence Review

In March 2021, the Council launched a consultation to find out what the public thought about rewilding on 50 hectares (ha) of Council green spaces. The public responded overwhelmingly in favour of plans to increase biodiversity and wildlife value.

In response to this feedback, the changes to our grounds maintenance procedures has been agreed by the Council's Executive in February 2022.

£46,000 has been committed from the Council's Climate Change and Biodiversity Earmarked Reserve to fund new grounds maintenance equipment and wildflower seed to rewild some of our own managed spaces. These changes will see around 2.5 ha of new wildflower areas of local provenance, all in aid of increasing biodiversity and supporting pollinators

The full scheme will be in place for the 2023 season


District Behaviour Change

In 2021, the Council Partnered with Carbon Savvy to run two engagement campaigns​​;

  • Lifestyle Spring Clean Week - from Friday 12 to Sunday 21 March 2021. This was a chance for individuals to measure their carbon footprint with the Carbon Savvy calculator and learn about steps they can take to reduce it. Carbon Savvy was chosen because of thier unique approach to carbon footprints which shows that not only is carbon-saving easier than people think, but it can actually increase happiness and wellbeing at the same time, as many things which improve your quality of life also contributes to doing your bit for the climate, as well as saving money in the long run.

  • Shop4good - Saturday 30th October to Saturday 13th November 2021. the programme promoted ten ways to shop that reduce CO2 emissions and raise well-being.  The campaign followed new research that shows consumer interest in sustainability has increased significantly since the pandemic, and suggests consumer buying power may be doing more to help the climate than initially realised.

A Council led Climate and Biodiversity Community Forum was established in December 2020, which the Local Government Association featured as a case study in 2021 To date the forum as helped the Council guide its work and focus such as refining grant scheme criteria and promote work such as a public survey into attitudes around car share and bike share schemes. The survey was promoted by South Hams District Council in collaboration with CoCars and CoBikes and would give affordable access to electric cars for everyone, whilst also supporting the shift to zero carbon transport

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2030 Net Zero Organisation Actions

So far we have;

  • Produced two greenhouse gas accounts, for the 18/19 year and 20/21* year *The differences between the two accounts are a result of more accurate data collection and effects of COVID-19 lockdown measures

  • Conducted a review of our fleet and produced a forward fleet plan to transition our vehicle fleet to EV. 

  • Commissioned an organisational decarbonisation plan with Exeter University.

  • Secured £233,000 through the Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund to produce a costed heat decarbonisation plan for our leisure centres

  • £500,000 was approved to facilitate solar panel installation across all four SHDC leisure centres, which will reduce organisational carbon emissions by 131 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is equivalent to the energy emissions of 38 homes. Leisure centre energy use is enormous, roughly 1,333,000 kWh, equivalent to the average energy use of nearly 300 homes.

  • Introduced an EV salary scheme for staff and increase the cycle to work threshold to £5000 to account for e-bike purchases

  • Reviewed Solar Canopy opportunities in Council owned car parks with a second review undertaken with the South West Energy Hub.

  • Saved through ‘agile’ working since January 2021 an estimated 300,000 miles of travel has been avoided, leading to a saving of 106tCO2e (Tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent).

  • The Councils Offices at Follaton House are powered by solar PV and we use 100% renewable tariff's

  • Climate Change will be reflected on future role profiles across the organisation, depending on grade these are

Grades 9 - 4

Climate Change

Contribute to the Council’s corporate objectives in relation to climate change by considering the environmental impact of individual and collective actions, working to reduce resource and energy use, minimise waste, and anticipate and enhance the efficiency of services in response to a changing climate, wherever possible, to help the council reduce its own carbon footprint and that of the district.

Grade 4 and above

Climate Change

Promote and role model the Council’s corporate objectives in relation to climate change by considering the environmental impact of individual and collective actions, working to reduce resource and energy use, minimise waste, and anticipate and enhance the efficiency of services in response to a changing climate, wherever possible, to help the council reduce its own carbon footprint and that of the district.

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Grants issued by South Hams District Council

In 2021, the Council committed a proportion of the £400,000 Climate Change Earmarked through a range of Community Grants, these have been delivered through...

  • up to £3,000 per Councillor is available to support local climate change and biodiversity projects. This was available from June 2021 and is available until each Councillor has spent their own budget. One such project was 'The Talking Forest' by Creation Myth Puppets, which was funded jointly by 8 District Councillors. A film about this project is below. 

Tree Planting

  • Funding was secured through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund project which saw 300 trees will be planted at 15 sites in early 2022 and a further 300 will follow early in 2023 at another 15 sites.

  • Other tree planting activity is shown below

Climate emergency planning policy and guidance

In response to the Climate and Biodiversity Emergencies declared by Plymouth, South Hams and West Devon Councils, we are introducing a new planning policy and guidance document.

The Climate Emergency Planning Policy and Guidance document sets out exactly what all new development should do to make sure that it can adapt to the challenges of climate change. This document is for anyone submitting a planning application, whether it is for an extension to their home, new employment development or new homes.

This document is ambitious. It sets out ways to ensure that all new development is fit for the future, by including solar panels, heat pumps and electric vehicle charging facilities as standard. It sets out measures that will mean development is better able to cope with the challenges of climate change to avoid overheating and flooding and bring health and wellbeing benefits.

a consultation was conducted in March 2022 and the document was adopted in November 2022. The document can be found here

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Advice and Assistance

To support others working to achieve district climate aims, we have....

  • created a town and parish guide to net-zero which is available here.

  • produced a short guide for businesses to achieve net zero which is available here.

  • continued to produce monthly newsletters which provide updates on what the council is doing, direct readers to webinars, events and funding opportunities and summarises the latest in climate and natural science and updates in national and international policy and research

  • Launched a Community Compost scheme to support local communities to manage the organic waste they produce. Specifically, the scheme supports new community composting groups that meet the criteria with set up costs on a match fund basis up to £7500 for up to six new community composting sites each year.

  • Secured £1m through the Shared Prosperity Fund to to help reduce carbon emissions in the District. The money will allow the Council to deliver targeted business and community support programmes witha  range of partners. Areas include Active Travel, Decarbonisation of the Marine Economy, Agriculture and Regenerative Farming, Wider Business Decarbonisation Support and Consultancy. Read more here.

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