The South Somerset Environment Strategy was formally adopted and approved by Councillors of South Somerset District Council in October 2019.
The strategy sets out both the immediate actions and long-term goals for the district achieve a significant reduction in SSDC’s carbon emissions.
It promotes the development and adoption of a sustainable environment, economy and communities within South Somerset and helps to develop a strategy that will achieve a significant reduction in SSDC’s carbon emissions.
The Environment Strategy
View the South Somerset Environment Strategy and better understand how South Somerset District Council will look to achieve its immediate and long term goals to achieve a significant reduction in our carbon emissions.
What we are currently doing
Since its adoption officers across the Council have been working hard to get baseline data on our own and the districts carbon footprint, identifying where our biggest impacts are and where improvements need to be made. We are working on possible tree and woodland schemes, developing schemes to engage with and support our communities on a whole range of environment projects, undertaking an audit of cycle infrastructure, supporting the installation of water refill points and supporting clean business growth. Further work is also taking place to work up business plans for larger and longer term project work.
What the Councillors say
Councillor Val Keitch, Leader of South Somerset District Council, said: “The Environment Strategy sends a clear message that South Somerset District Council is committed to achieving a significant reduction in its carbon emissions and that we recognise that this is only the beginning of what can be achieved. We want to make it clear to the public across South Somerset and beyond that we are a Council that is committed to action, but equally committed to informed action because this is public money that is being spent and we want to make sure our efforts are invested in making that difference where it counts and is wanted.”
Councillor Sarah Dyke, South Somerset District Council’s portfolio holder for Environment, added: “We have conducted a number of engagement events with local, regional and national groups to help us understand the issues that matter most to people. Through this engagement, we have identified a number of interventions that will help to significantly reduce our carbon emissions. We want to make it clear that we can only action what we are responsible for, but we are committed to working with stakeholders to enable positive change throughout the district.
“Funds have been made available by the authority to help action the interventions that are detailed in the strategy and we are excited to be able to start delivering these ambitions, to meet and exceed our targets, whilst exploring what more we can do in the future.”
How you can get involved
You can engage with us and let us know how you would like to be involved in the future. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you would like to do, whether it be informed about future projects or prepared to get involved within your community with recycling, reusing, biodiversity, protection species plus much more.
A Somerset Climate Emergency Framework is also being produced countywide by Somerset’s five councils, who have agreed that action needs to be taken and work needs to be conducted in collaboration with our communities. The Councils have come together to produce the Framework that is intended to spark a vital conversation with our communities, interest groups, businesses and other relevant stakeholders to help us build the full Climate Emergency Strategy and the actions that arise from it. The aim is to produce a detailed strategy by July 2020.
Across Somerset, there will be a number of Climate emergency have your say drop-in events which are organised by the Somerset Climate Action Network and hosted by all five Somerset local authorities. We'd love to hear your views about how we develop a Somerset Plan for tackling the Climate Emergency. Look out for more details coming soon on our social media platforms and website.
Why has an Environment Strategy been created?
During 2018 and 2019, many Councils across the UK and Governments around the world responded to public calls to take strong and rapid mitigation measures to reduce carbon emissions and have declared climate emergencies.
In May 2019 South Somerset District Council formally recognised a climate and ecological emergency.
Since then, Officers have been working with stakeholder groups to identify interventions that will help to achieve a significant reduction, in the order of 80%, in our carbon emissions. Our ambition is to be carbon neutral across our own operations and land holdings by 2030 at the latest, and ideally by 2023.
The South Somerset Environment Strategy aims to make South Somerset District Council a leading Council in developing and adopting a Green Agenda to promote sustainable environment, economy and communities.
What consultation has been done to date?
During July 2019, we held three engagement activities that was aimed at helping us identify public priorities.
We held a school workshop where 49 children from five local primary schools in South Somerset. Each school was asked to consider one of five themes and come up with some ideas about what they think the ‘Council’ should do in their theme. Three stakeholder workshops were also held with local interest groups and local representatives from regional and national organisations. Additionally, we conducted remote email engagement with Parish, Town and District Councillors as well as SSDC staff. People were invited to consider a number of broad environmental themes and share thoughts and ideas on what the Council could do to address environmental issues.
In September, we held a stakeholder workshop with people who previously attended workshops to review our draft strategy and share views.
A number of outcomes came from the engagement activities which have been amalgamated into a Engagement Outcomes Report.