Council Awarded £1m to Support Community Net Zero Targets

South Hams District Council has been granted funding of over £1m to help reduce carbon emissions in the District. The money will allow the Council to deliver targeted business and community support programmes.

The award comes from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

The Council is using the money to achieve the most sustainable outcomes possible to support its Climate Change and Biodiversity promise to become net-zero by 2050.

By working closely with specialist organisations, businesses and community groups, the Council can improve sustainable travel infrastructure, begin to decarbonise our marine sector, and help our farming community to adopt innovative approaches to farming that are better for our climate and ecology.

The first step towards improvements is Active and Inclusive Travel through:

  • programmes of activities to encourage people to use sustainable travel for their work and leisure activities, particularly making our tourism sites accessible through low carbon transport
  • the development of a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, setting out and prioritising interventions to improve the local cycling and walking networks

Agriculture and Regenerative Farming improvements will support the rural economy by:

  • bringing research and development to our agricultural communities, turning them into a test bed for new technologies and processes so that they can lead the way in improving the national agricultural sector.
  • supporting farms to transition to regenerative farming processes. This will focus on improving soil quality, moving away from pesticides and fertilisers, and improving biodiversity on their sites.
  • supporting farms and food producers to get their products into local marketplaces.

As a coastal district it is important also important to consider the Decarbonisation of the Marine Economy. Therefore, the District Council will be using their funds to:

  • decarbonise the Lower Dart Ferry and Salcombe water taxis.
  • establish the carbon footprint of Salcombe Harbour and develop a strategy to decarbonise the site.
  • deliver innovative pilot projects to bring new technologies and processes to the marine sector.

Across the District, the Council's specialist officers will be offering Wider Business Decarbonisation Support and Consultancy with:

  • support for Community Energy Groups to help them bring projects forward and access funds to support their goals.
  • support for village halls to strengthen the role they play in our most rural communities.
  • delivery of decarbonisation plans for businesses, which will then be used to help them access grant support.
  • work with the local construction sector and its supply chain to strengthen its ability to deliver decarbonised building projects.

Councillor Hilary Bastone, Deputy Leader of South Hams District Council, said: "This is fantastic news for the Council and the District's communities and businesses. It's vital that we protect our environment through clean growth but still continue to deliver the economic advantages so that our District continues to thrive and grow.

"We all know how important it is to our wellbeing to live a healthy lifestyle and this funding will help us to work towards improving that goal on travel, food and lifestyle for our residents."

These are only some of the range of projects currently planned with some activities set to begin in January, and others scheduled to run from April 2023 until the end of March 2025.