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Posts tagged environment
8 July 2021
Many Town, Parish and District Councils around the country are turning to a concept called rewilding, letting some green and grassy areas return to a more natural state. The aim for many of these Councils is to increase the amount of biodiversity and wildlife locally.
As a District Council, South Hams currently manages about 50 hectares of green space which is cut every couple of weeks.
Today, the Council are launching a consultation to explore what the public thinks about the Council enabling rewilding on a small proportion of this land. (10Ha for a biodiversity led approach, and 3.5Ha for wildflower meadows).
In 2019 South Hams District Council declared a Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency.
Across the UK, many habitats which are important for supporting wildlife have already been lost. For example, 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s, with a knock on impact on the species which rely on these habitats.
The abundance of habitat specialist butterflies has declined by 68% since 1976 for example.
As part of their declaration and to mitigate against such biodiversity loss, South Hams has said it aims to increase biodiversity on Council owned-land by at least 10% by 2025.
Creating and restoring more biodiverse green spaces and enabling rewilding of some Council owned land, could help the Council reach its biodiversity targets and significantly improve conditions for local wildlife.
This consultation is proposing an approach which could see the Council proactively manage 10Ha land as wilder green space, 3.5Ha of land as wildflower areas, and 3.5Ha of new tree planting. This could support pollinators, as well as wildlife such as reptiles, small mammals, amphibians, birds and even bats.
Cllr Tom Holway, South Hams District Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “In 2019 we made a very important declaration, namely we declared a climate change and biodiversity emergency. This means that we made a commitment to proactively do things that could halt the progress of climate change and biodiversity loss.
“This idea of rewilding is a great way for Councils to make a big difference locally. In reality, South Hams actually owns a small proportion of the green spaces in the District, only around 50 hectares and we are proposing to do this on about 1/3 of that.
“However, I am excited about the difference this could make, and it would be wonderful to get local communities engaged in this process and for them to see these habitats change and grow over the coming year.
“This consultation is all about understanding what the public thinks about this idea and if they would be supportive of it in general terms.”
The Council recognises that some members of our community may be concerned about uncut grasses looking untidy or neglected.
However, the proposals suggest that the areas selected for rewilding would still be carefully managed, often with cut grass framing the area, paths cut through longer grass and clear signposting to show everyone which grassed areas are part of the scheme.
If the consultation returns a favourable response to the concept of rewilding some Council owned land in South Hams, a proposals map will be available in the autumn , and in some cases there may be more site level consultation over the specific detail of proposals to ensure the approach fits with the aspirations of local residents.
Through this experience and the consultation, South Hams would also be able to support and offer advice to Town and Parish Councils who are also considering allocating space to rewilding.
For more information on the proposal and to have your say visit:
Or to read more about South Hams District Council’s Climate Change Declaration, visit:
We want to hear your thoughts about the South Devon AONB landscape. We are interested in how you are use this protected landscape and what you appreciate and value about it.
You can share your thoughts in our short online survey here: https://plymouth.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/community-change-survey-south-devon
If you want any further information, please contact the PhD researcher Hanna Elisabet Åberg from the University of Bologna firstname.lastname@example.org
To get more background on the project you can watch this web talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgLB9RN1h-4
On behalf of our colleagues at Plymouth and Bologna – thanks for your time!
Nicky Bailey (she/her/hers) – Why this is here
South Devon AONB Community Projects Officer| Mon – Thursday
Follaton House, Plymouth Rd, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5NE
01803 229334 | 07900 857567
Issued: 25 May 2021
South Hams District Council has adapted their proposed plans after listening to over 700 responses received in the Motorhome consultation, which closed on Thursday 20 May.
The public consultation on a 12-month pilot scheme allowing self-contained motorhomes and campervans, with their own toilet facilities, to stay at some South Hams car parks has been largely met with support.
After listening to public concerns about four of the proposed locations it has been decided that North Sands in Salcombe, Memorial in Slapton and Torcross Tank in Torcross and Quay Car Park in Kingsbridge will no longer be considered for the pilot scheme. The suggested £15 tariff has now been removed along with these sites.
The results of the public consultation and a report recommending a single overnight tariff of £10, and the revised recommended sites, will now be discussed at the District Council’s Executive Committee on Thursday 27 May.
The pilot has been designed to help improve local tourism. There are ever-increasing numbers of motorhomes and campervan users opting to use car parks and other locations for overnight stays in the South Hams, and this is anticipated to increase as a result of restrictions on overseas travel due to the pandemic.
The Council recommend stays would be at the named car parks for self-contained motorhomes and campervans only for an overnight fee of £10 per night, overnight from 6 p.m. until 9 a.m. The proposed pilot will allow overnight sleeping for a maximum two-night consecutive stay with no return within 48 hours.
The following five car parks in these towns across the District are proposed to be included in the pilot scheme:
· Ivybridge, Leonards Car Park
· Kingsbridge, Cattlemarket Car Park
· Modbury, Poundwell Meadow Overflow Car Park
· Totnes, Longmarsh Car Park
· Dartmouth, Park & Ride Car Park
Cllr Keith Baldry, South Hams District Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “We want to do everything we can to support our businesses to get back on their feet by encouraging tourism to the South Hams. By making it easier for motorhome owners to visit our District and to bring their money to spend in our shops, restaurants, pubs and leisure attractions, it is a step in the right direction in helping us build up our local economy and supporting our local families and communities.
“Therefore, we are delighted that so many residents have taken the time and effort to share their thoughts on this pilot scheme. We have read their comments and have listened carefully to what they have to say and in light of their thoughts; we removed four of our nine proposed sites from our considerations, leaving us with five locations to take to our Executive meeting on Thursday.
“This pilot scheme is aimed at self-contained motorhomes which have their own on board toilet facilities for short two-night stays in our car parks. To further address respondents’ concerns, if this proposal is agreed, we propose to have regular patrols by our Localities and Car Park teams who would visit sites, during peak times, to make sure sites remain clean and tidy so that locals and visitors can all appreciate the facilities.”
Read more from the report to the Executive Committee here: www.southhams.gov.uk/Executive
If you are interested in finding out more about this decision, you can watch the meeting live on the Council’s YouTube Channel here: www.youtube.com/user/SouthHamsCouncil
The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday 27 May.
18 May 2021
2021 is the year of the staycation, with record numbers of visitors predicted to head to the South Hams over the coming months. With some local people expected to open up their land as pop-up camping sites, South Hams District Council has advice on what is and isn’t allowed.
A pop-up campsite is when a field or private land is temporarily used for a small number of tents. The Government has passed legislation to allow temporary, pop-up campsites to open for up to 56 days this year. That’s an increase on the usual 28 days. Pop-up campsites do not require planning permission but there are rules you have to take into consideration.
If you are thinking of opening up a pop-up campsite on your land, here’s what you need to know:
You can only accept tents.
You can only place temporary facilities on your land.
Please try and cut the grass as short as you possibly can.
Everything must be removed after 56 days.
You’ll need to provide portable toilets, a hand washing station and a supply of water.
If you have a private water supply that has not been certified for commercial use you should provide potable bottled water for your visitors. If you intend temporarily extending a mains water supply you will need to check this is acceptable with South West Water email@example.com
You may need to put down some mats in gateways if the weather is wet, and remove them after the camp site closes.
You will need to consider how the rubbish from the site will be disposed of and arrange for this to be taken away by a licensed waste carrier.
You need to risk assess your site which must bear relation to any relevant COVID restrictions. You will need to consider the risks on your land and how you can help campers to stay safe. Think about any information that you can provide for them via email or on a temporary notice board.
You will need to manage behaviour of visitors to avoid unreasonable disturbance through loud music etc.
You must display a COVID test and trace QR code which you can download from GOV.UK.
It is your responsibility to keep yourself up-to-date with the very latest COVID guidance for the hospitality industry
Insurance can usually be provided by the insurer who insures your land for public liability. There is usually an additional charge for this.
Cllr Jonathan Hawkins, South Hams District Council Lead Member for Environmental Health said: “Last year saw an increase visitors sleeping under the stars in the South Hams in pop-up campsites. We’re expecting the same again this year, and hope it will again help to give our local businesses a much needed boost as we welcome more tourists to eat, drink, stay and shop in our area. However, it’s also important that anyone planning a pop-up campsite follows the rules, to help keep everyone safe and ensure no nuisance is caused.”
To find out more, please go to: www.southhams.gov.uk/popup-campsite
Be our eagle eyes say police
Police Wildlife Crime Officers in Devon and Cornwall is calling on the public to keep a look out for suspicious activity around wild birds’ nests.
It is part of an annual operation, which is backed by nationally-gathered intelligence, to tackle egg thieves.
This year, the police are asking members of the public to be their eagle eyes and let them know if they see any activity that suggests that nests of wild birds are being interfered with or eggs are being taken.
Some people will go to any lengths to raid the nests of rare wild birds but Operation Easter, which runs throughout the nesting season, from the spring into early summer, is aimed at tackling the problem.
Developed in Scotland 24 years ago, the operation is facilitated by the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) in conjunction with UK police forces and partner agencies. The operation targets egg thieves by sharing intelligence across the UK to support enforcement action.
PC Martin Beck, Rural Affairs Officer for Devon, said: “We have a great and varied number of birds in the South West which we should enjoy, respect and protect. This does however attract some the attention of a small number of people who want to take wild bird eggs.
“This practice has been banned for many decades but sadly still goes on. The operation is asking members of the public to let the police know if they see people interfering with nests or taking eggs. The intention of this operation is to ensure that intelligence opportunities are maximised in order to prevent, disrupt or investigate possible offences. Be our eagle eyes.”
The taking of wild bird eggs is a serious crime. Whole clutches of eggs can be taken from some of the UK’s rarest birds with potentially devastating impacts. The eggs are stored in secret collections.
Chief Inspector Kevin Kelly (head of the NWCU) says: “Operation Easter is a yearly event that is engrained within wildlife crime policing. This year we have given the operation some much needed emphasis, focusing our efforts on to assisting Police Wildlife Crime Officers on the front line.
“The NWCU collates and disseminates the information that identifies the hotspot areas where the crimes are likely to be committed and we work with police officers and partners to ensure these areas of interest are given the attention they deserve, to protect the future of our wild birds. We have a number of skilled and dedicated Police Wildlife Crime Officers across the UK who have adopted this operation and will work with us to reduce criminality, and for this, I thank them greatly.”
If you have any information on egg thieves, or those who disturb rare nesting birds without a licence, you should contact the police by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling them on 101 – ask to speak to a wildlife crime officer if possible.
Information can also be passed in confidence to Crimestoppers via 0800 555111.
Join South Devon AONB for an online talk looking at how people have and are shaping the landscape over time, the impact this has in South Devon and explore imprints we might leave behind for our future generations.
13TH APRIL 2021 7-8PM
Find out more about how you can get involved in an exciting new project with partners in the University of Plymouth and our European friends in the University of Bologna, Italy
Free event, booking essential
To access this free online talk, you will need a computer or mobile device with internet access
Book just one free place for each shared computer or mobile device
After booking, you will be sent a link and instructions on how to sign into the talk
Booking is via Ticketsource
Diane Lethbridge | Communications Officer | Mon -Tues, Thurs am
Follaton House, Plymouth Rd, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5NE
01803 229333| mobile no. 07725 915577