South Hams District Council has now agreed a plan to support the Council's aim of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030 and to help the District of South Hams reach Zero Carbon by 2050.

Climate Change Webpage

At a meeting of all of the South Hams District Councillors, it was agreed that as well as aiming to reduce the organisation's carbon footprint, they would work with the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group to reduce emissions across the District.

It was also agreed that the draft action plan which the Council is bringing forward, would be shared with Towns and Parish Councils and be the subject of continual review throughout the year, including opening it up to comments from the public.

Cllr Judy Pearce, Leader of South Hams District Council said: "It is very important for us to be realistic about what we can do, what we can influence and what is outside of our control.

"As an organisation, through workshops with councillors and staff, we have brought together a list of ideas that will form the basis of our plan for reducing our own organisational footprint, and ideas that are outside of our control which we would need to work with partners and communities on. 

Evidence shows that humans have already caused climate change, the impacts of which are being felt around the world. Global temperatures have already increased by one degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

Atmospheric Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm). This far exceeds the 350 ppm deemed to be a safe level for humanity.

"We, and the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group, recognise that much of what needs to be done is beyond the ability of any one authority, but we remain committed to working together, with partners, stakeholders, the private and public sectors to do what we can."

South Hams District Council has now established a baseline measure of its own Carbon Footprint.  The total net carbon footprint for South Hams District Council is 8014.2 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) per year.  For comparison, the average home in the United Kingdom is estimated to contribute 2.7 tCO2e per year through heating.

The Council has already taken significant steps to reduce its footprint through actions such as reducing business miles.  Now they are progressing other ideas such as investing in a solar farm, facilitating a salary sacrifice scheme for electric cars, getting an electric pool car and changing their vehicle fleet to electric.

Cllr Pearce said: "When we declared a Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency earlier in the year, we agreed to create a working group of councillors to tackle the challenge ahead. 

"That group has been working hard to understand the task ahead of us, and our role within it. You can view videos of the workshops they took part in and read about their progress to date on the South Hams dedicated Climate Change and Biodiversity website".

Cllr Pearce added: "If you are keen to get involved, please do engage with your Town and Parish Council or local climate action groups. You can also fill in our District-wide survey or have a go at working out your own carbon footprint using the calculator on our website."

South Hams have now launched a District-wide survey asking residents for their views on climate change and what we can all do individually to make a difference.

You can complete that survey here

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