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South Hams District Council in District Councils' Top 20 for Climate Action Plans

South Hams District Council (SHDC) is delighted to have scored within the top 20 nationally of all district councils for their Climate Change Action Plans, published yesterday by Climate Emergency UK.

Ponds South Hams 1

The District Council has every right to hold their head high scoring a very highly regarded 66% compared to the average UK district council score of only 43%. As well as being ranked one of the top performers in the Measuring & Setting Emissions Targets category.

Climate Emergency UK, who carried out the ranking exercise, examined 28 comprehensive areas of the Plan. They also investigated whether plans went beyond cutting just a Council's own carbon footprint, but also included reducing that of the whole area through partnership working with communities.

Setting a strategy and an action plan is only the first step in acting on Climate Change. The scorecard provided will be useful as the District Council goes into a review stage of their Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy later this year. The review aims to identify areas for improvement, alongside focusing their efforts on delivering solid action across the District.

The Council's Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy only covers one aspect of climate action within the District. As proud partners of the Devon Climate Emergency, SHDC are working with partners across Devon (including Devon County Council) to create a carbon plan for the county that they will have a role in delivering. Some of the background work completed by the partnership provided much needed evidence and data for the District Council's own plan. SHDC's Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy will be reviewed once the Devon Carbon Plan is finalised to ensure all actions are consistent and aligned.

Over the next few months, a substantial schedule of tree planting will be progressed that involves 2,550 young new trees being established. This will help to offset the District's carbon footprint and to do something positive to combat the climate emergency, as well as increase biodiversity and habitats for animals. Not forgetting the positive benefits for health and wellbeing of residents and visitors.

Cllr Tom Holway, South Hams District Council's Lead Member for Climate Change and Biodiversity, said: "The recognition of the Climate Emergency UK organisation's ranking of our plan underlines the hard work our team have put in. Achieving a ranking within the top 20 in the district councils in the UK is fantastic news and shouldn't underestimate the work that has gone in to achieve that. The scoring helps us to keep track of the improvements we make in the coming years. 

"It is really important that we lead by example to cut our carbon footprint to net zero by 2030 as an organisation and work with our communities to work together to cut the District's emissions by 2050. Let's not also forget about increasing our biodiversity by at the very least 10% by 2025, at the latest. 

"It's really simple, if we don't all play our part to reduce the impact of climate change then the future for our children looks bleak. 

"We know clearly what we need to do to succeed, and that has been confirmed by the national rankings. We have a solid and well-thought action plan in place despite stretched budgets but we're doing what we can with what we have and it is starting to have an impact. 

"We shouldn't underestimate the scale of this challenge and we all have an important part to play. There's still a lot of work to do and it will take time to implement. 

"We have the first part of our tree planting programme now underway, and our rewilding scheme has had a very positive response and will be rolled out shortly. A series of electric charging points will be installed soon around the district, so things are happening, but it all takes time. We are all promoting electric vehicle ownership to our staff workforce and developing a strategy to convert our light vehicle fleet to electric. Government funding for green home grants for improvements to energy efficiency will also reduce the Districts' carbon emissions.   

"It will help if everyone plays their part to do what they can. Turn off lights when you leave a room, walk or cycle instead of driving, turn off taps rather than leaving them running. Insulate your home to save energy. We have various grants, which offer some savings so have a look at our website to see if they apply to you. If everyone does their bit, then together the South Hams can make a difference for our future and that of our children's futures."

You can find out more at the Climate Emergency UK's Scorecard website here:


Visit the Council's Climate Change and Biodiversity website and read their Action Plan for yourself, along with a whole host of other information.



You can also find lots of helpful tips and hints on how to cut your carbon footprint and save money at the save time by doing your bit to cut CO2 in the District.


Do you want to keep in touch and find out what is new on a regular basis? Then sign up for regular e-bulletins straight to your email inbox.


Visit Devon Climate Emergency's website for more information about what the county partnership team is doing to protect the climate.


Issued: 31 January 2022

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