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Apply for free energy efficiency improvements; progress report on reaching net-zero this decade; Farms Estate also driving down carbon emissions; it’s Carers Week, and more

One of our main priorities for the next four years is the range of work we do to address the climate emergency: to help the county of Devon to become carbon net-zero; to become a net-zero authority ourselves within the next eight years at the latest; and to help Devon residents adapt to a greener way of life and help people improve the efficiency of their homes.

In this issue:

  • Households can apply for free energy efficiency home improvements
  • We’re on course to become net-zero by 2030
  • Our Farms Estate is reducing its carbon emissions
  • New campaign launched to encourage cyclists, pedestrians, drivers and motorists to ‘Share this Space’
  • This week is Carers Week, and it’s not too late to catch some of the planned activities
  • ‘Let’s Talk Teenagers’ free webinars begin again next week
Man on a roof wearing a hard hat, fitting a solar panel to the roof.

Lower-income households invited to apply for free energy efficiency home improvements

If you have a household income of less than £30,000 a year, and live in Devon or Torbay, you may be eligible for free energy efficiency improvements to your home worth thousands of pounds.

From this week you can check your eligibility and apply through the Cosy Devon website.

The scheme is being delivered by the Cosy Devon partnership, which consists of us, East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge and Torridge District Councils, West Devon Borough, Exeter City, Plymouth City and Torbay Councils.

Upgrades could include underfloor and solid floor insulation; insulation to cavity, external and internal walls, and lofts; double glazing, draught proofing, ventilation solar panels and heat pumps.

It offers householders the chance to improve their homes by ensuring that they are warmer, less draughty, and less damp. And it helps reduce energy bills and lower a home’s carbon emissions.

You can read more about the scheme in the news story on our website.

Two cyclists cycling along a cycle path.

‘Share this Space’ reminder for Bike Week

This week is Bike Week, and to mark it we’re encouraging people to ‘Share this Space’ in a new campaign.

We want more people to cycle more often, and our Share this Space campaign aims to promote patience on the county’s roads, paths and multi-use trails.

Top tips include:

  • cyclists are asked to please pass walkers slowly and carefully, letting people know you’re there and giving them space
  • dog walkers on shared paths are asked to keep dogs under close control on a short lead
  • pedestrians are reminded to check for traffic if they are crossing the road
  • drivers and motorcyclists are urged to be considerate and to give vulnerable road users such as cyclists and horse-riders extra space (two metres if possible) when passing them. Also be aware of the possibility of pedestrians stepping into the road

We have free films, animations and images for you to use and share via our Share this Space webpage. And you can show your support for the campaign by ordering our ‘Give Cyclists Space’ car window stickers, for free.

To find out more, and to order your free window sticker, read the news story on our website.

An elderly gentleman sitting by his son on a bed. They are smiling and looking at a framed photograph.

It’s not too late to catch the rest of Carers Week

This week has also been Carers Week. We produced a special bulletin on Monday to tell you about the activities that our partners at Devon Carers have organised.

If you provide unpaid care to a friend or relative, there’s a range of support available to help you.

It’s also not too late to catch some of the Carers Week events and activities.

Find out what’s happening this weekend, visit the Devon Carers website.

And on Monday 13 June, between 6pm and 7pm, Carers UK is running a free pan-Devon online meeting for Carers Week, to introduce people to the support that Carers UK offer.

It’s a special meeting that we’ve arranged with working carers in mind.

Use this link to join the Zoom meeting

The meeting ID is 884 1713 3319, Passcode: 513325

A lady working from home, sat at her table with her laptop open

We’re on course to become net-zero before 2030

A new report shows that between 2013 and 2021/21, our carbon emissions fell by 53 per cent.

It means that we’re ahead of schedule in our goal of becoming net-zero by 2030 at the latest.

The report also shows that emissions produced through the use of the electricity we purchase fell by 73 per cent.

We’ve done it as a result of projects, circumstances and the introduction of new technology.

The installation of heat pumps and the replacement of old boilers with new condensing models at County Hall, Exeter, has had a significant impact, for example.

As has the ongoing replacement of streetlighting across Devon with more efficient LEDs – streetlighting is one of our main sources of emissions.

Installing solar arrays on our corporate buildings has also reduced emissions. And introducing new technology has led to a reduction in staff travel.

You can read more from the report in the news story on our website.

A tradesperson fitting cavity wall insulation

Farms Estate upgrade will reduce emissions and help keep energy costs down

A project to ‘retrofit’ all 68 farmhouses across our Farms Estate with energy efficiency measures is well under way.

Once complete, it will reduce carbon emissions emitted by the farmhouses by up to 70 per cent.

Our Estate currently comprises of residential dairy and mixed livestock ‘starter’ farms totalling 3,873 hectares, and they provide people with their first opportunity to farm.

Thirty five of the farmhouses have been upgraded or ‘retro-fitted’ so far, with a further eight currently undergoing work.  

Upgrades include double glazing, and cavity wall, loft, and floor insulation. Solar arrays, totalling 63 kWp in energy, have also been installed, and the first air source heat pump on the Estate.

It means that each farmhouse will use a lot less energy in total than before.

More than 40 per cent of Devon’s carbon emissions are caused by the buildings we live and work in. Retrofitting is one of the main pillars of the Devon Carbon Plan, the county’s roadmap to net-zero by 2050 at the latest, to be published this summer.

You can read more about the farms estate retrofit in the news story on our website.

lets talk teenagers

Further chance to join highly successful online event for parents

A highly popular series of webinars, that provide free advice to parents and carers to help them understand and support their teenagers more, starts again next week.

The ‘Let’s Talk Teenagers’ webinars were set up to help parents and carers of teenagers to support their children through the challenges of today’s world.

The first sessions were sold out – places were initially limited to 200, but a staggering 749 parents and carers attended sessions, and gave excellent positive feedback.

With demand so high, a second series is running Wednesdays, 15, 22, and 29 June.

The sessions will cover topics such as teenage development and social and emotional changes, body image, relationships, social media and emotional wellbeing and self-care. They’re delivered by parenting experts.

Rebecca Hewitt, Chair of the South Devon and Dartmoor Community Safety Partnership, said:

“We were overwhelmed by the feedback from parents who said that they felt more equipped to support their teens following this event. We are pleased to be able to offer the sessions again to reach even more families to raise awareness of the risks young people face and provide tips on how to support them.”

For more information, and to book a place on the seminars, read our story online.

Job of the week advert, advertising a post for a Trading Standards Officer

Job of the week! – Trading Standards Officer

The Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service, which we jointly commission with Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay Local Authorities, is looking to recruit a number of fully qualified Trading Standards Officers to join their Intelligence and Investigations team and Business Support and Innovation team.

They undertake a broad range of regulated activities essential to the economy and public safety, including tackling rogue traders, disrupting unfair business practices and creating innovative solutions to protect our most vulnerable consumers.

They also deliver excellent regulatory support to local businesses and our rural community.

In return for the vital contribution that you make, we offer a salary of £33,486 to £37,568 per annum, 25 days annual leave (rising with length of service) plus Bank Holidays, membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme and access to our confidential Employee Assistance Programme – available 24/7 to support you with personal and work life.

Hybrid working is available and the roles can be performed within agreed flexible hours, with a combination of home and office working. Some travel is to be expected. To find out more and apply, visit the Devon Jobs website.

online purchase

Scam alert: fake Ofgem emails

Action Fraud has issued a warning about fake emails purporting to be from Ofgem. The emails state that the recipient is eligible for a rebate as a result of a newly announced government scheme.

The links in the emails lead to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal your personal and financial information. 

Remember, your bank or any other official organisation won’t ask you to share personal information over email or text.

If you need to check whether an email or text is genuine, contact the organisation directly on contact details you know are right, not those shown in the email or text.

Forward suspicious emails to

Forward suspicious texts to 7726. 

Read more about how to stay safe from scams.