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Find out how Devon is going greener, check your COVID-19 pass before you travel and Disney’s 10 minute shake-ups are here to keep kids moving

Devon’s farms could be the key to new community energy revolution

We’re working on a new scheme which could give community energy groups the chance to ‘rent’ farmland and buildings to help them expand Devon’s renewable electricity capacity. If successful, it could see renewable energy installations totalling 100 kWp developed on low-grade, agricultural land which is otherwise unsuitable for grazing or growing crops.

There is huge potential for farms to be transformed into ‘renewable energy hubs’ and their land and buildings to be used to generate energy from wind, solar, biomass and agricultural waste.

You can read the full story on the news page of our website.

Driving down carbon emissions on Devon’s highways

Our ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030 is ahead of schedule, as we announce our next phase in cutting carbon from Devon’s roads maintenance.

Phase one, announced last year, saw us become one of the first councils in the country to develop a carbon calculator, a clever way of identifying the carbon emissions produced in every step of highway maintenance.

Phase two, which is being introduced in the next few weeks, is about tracking the actual carbon emitted at construction or repair stage.

Find out more about what this means by reading the full story on our news website.

Check COVID-19 requirements before you travel

With the summer holidays well and truly underway, now is a good time to check your COVID-19 vaccination record is up-to-date, if you’re going abroad.

Children aged five years and over who have been vaccinated can also get an NHS COVID Pass, which might be needed depending on where you are going. If your vaccine record isn’t showing correctly in your NHS COVID Pass, or you need to request a letter, call 119 or find out more on the NHS website.

You can check the COVID-related entry requirements for the country you’re visiting at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice. Also, if you need to take a PCR test, you can find a list of providers online. 

Did you take part in Cycle to Work Day?

It was the 10th annual Cycle to Work Day yesterday (Thursday 4 August) which was a good reminder of the many benefits a cycle commute can offer for your health, your bank balance and your carbon footprint.

Don’t have a bike? Find out if your workplace is part of a cycle scheme where you can buy a bike and equipment through a monthly salary sacrifice payment.

Alternatively, there are community bike reuse schemes where you can pick up a second-hand bike. Plus if you’re in Exeter or the surrounding areas, you can hire one of the many electric Co-Bikes parked around the city. 

If you haven’t cycled for a while but would like to get back in the saddle we offer free, two hour cycle confidence sessions for adults in Devon through Active Devon. 

Got an urgent health need? NHS 111 can help

Residents and visitors to Devon are being reminded that if they have an urgent health issue this summer they can access medical advice online or by phone 24 hours a day at NHS 111.

Anyone contacting 111 who needs emergency medical care from a hospital Emergency Department (also known as A&E) will be given direct access to the department. Staff at NHS 111 can also refer patients through to Minor Injuries Units and Urgent Treatment Centres. This will ensure that people get to the right place for treatment quickly and may reduce their waiting times.

NHS Devon’s Clinical Lead for Urgent Care and Plymouth GP Dr Dafydd Jones said:

“Using NHS 111 online or by phone allows you to access medical advice for urgent health issues from the comfort of your home and with the knowledge that, if you do need go to a minor injuries unit or emergency department, you can be booked directly in and have a shorter wait on site.  It also helps to reduce pressure on our busy urgent and emergency care services.”

If you have family or friends visiting Devon this summer that have a medical problem or need a prescription, let them know their GP back home can help. They will be able to offer an appointment by telephone or online and can arrange a prescription, leaving visitors more time to enjoy their stay in Devon.

Shake up your summer!

This summer, the government’s Better Health campaign has teamed up with Disney to help get kids active throughout the holidays by playing 10 Minute Shake Up games.

It aims to inspire children, and their parents or carers, to build confidence in being active, develop physical skills, feel good and, most importantly, have fun!

Children and young people need 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity a day, and the activities are broken down into more manageable chunks to help getting active be easy and fun.

The Shake Ups are play-along games around 10 minutes in length and can be played by one or more people. From Mirabel Guards the Magic Candle, inspired by Disney’s ‘Encanto’, to Buzz Lightyear’s Ball Challenge inspired by Disney and Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’, there are over 40 games to choose from.

So, what are you waiting for? Search ‘10 Minute Shake Up’ today.

Another hot spell on the horizon

Temperatures are forecast to rise again over this weekend and during the coming week, says the Met Office.

Although it’s too early to say how long the hot spell will last, there are indications of a return to more changeable conditions from about mid-August. 

This special bulletin we sent out in July has some useful tips to beat the heat and keep cool during hot weather.

Check the forecast

Bird flu update

We told you in last week’s bulletin about cases of avian influenza, or bird flu, which are appearing in Devon. We mistakenly said that keepers of poultry and captive birds must keep their birds housed as part of the national Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ). However, although the AIPZ is still in place, the requirement to keep birds housed was lifted in May 2022. Apologies for any confusion this may have caused.

As a reminder, you shouldn’t touch or pick up any sick or dead wild birds you see while out and about and if you have a dog, make sure they stay clear too.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

Full guidance is available on the government website.