Close this search box.

Climate Impacts Group Meeting Minutes, 15th August 2022


Emily Reed                                      Devon Climate Emergency

Doug Eltham                                  Devon County Council

Charles Ffoulkes                            RSK

Andrew McArthur                         RSK

Sara Gibbs                                      Public Health Devon

George Arnison                             Environment Agency

Charlotte Brown                            Devon Climate Emergency

Tom Dauben                                  Environment Agency

Emmanuelle Marshall                  Plymouth City Council

Nick Paling                                      South West Water

Rhys Hobbs                                    Cornwall Council

Richard Saville                                Cornwall Council

Louise Sawyer                                Devon and Cornwall Police

Stephen Swabey                            Council of the Isles of Scilly

Maria Van Hove                             Public Health, Exeter University and Torbay Council

Victoria Hatfield                            Exeter City Council


Alex Rainbow                                 Cornwall Council

Laurence Couldrick                       Westcountry Rivers Trust

Anya Gopfert                                 Health Education England

Harriet Googe                                Environment Agency

Helen Dobby                                  Environment Agency

Neil Hamlyn                                    Local Resilience Forum

Ruth Rockley                                  Cornwall Council

Penny Tranter                                Met Office

Paul Minshull                                 Cornwall Council

Thomas Cunningham                   Devon and Cornwall Police

Carolyn Cadman                            South West Water

Lesley Newport                              Environment Agency

1. Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as an accurate record.

One action is carried forward:

ACTION: Helen Dobby to meet for a more detailed discussion with Stephen Swabey to catch up further on activities happening around climate adaptation and flood defences on the Isles of Scilly.

ACTION: Helen to invite Jess to the South West Place Shaping Group

2. Introduction to RSK

Charles Ffoulkes and Andrew McArthur introduced themselves as the appointed contractors for helping to take forward the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Adaptation Strategy. RSK have previously worked with the Climate Change Committee, Trinity House, Defra, and the Council of the Isles of Scilly on adaptation projects.

The Adaptation Strategy will consist of three parts: a Climate Change Risk and Opportunity Assessment (CCRA), an Adaptation Plan (setting out the conditions for different groups to work together), and an Action Plan for priority actions in the next 5 years.

The outcomes will be one report combining the three sections with short summaries where necessary for different audiences. This will include information for communities and local policy makers. The report will be aimed at the Climate Impacts Group and will undergo a period of public consultation.

The CCRA will take the following steps:

  • Review the local CCRA that has already been drafted.
  • Cross reference the local CCRA with the UK’s third CCRA.
  • Assess the urgency scores of the risks included in the updated local CCRA.
  • Write the report.
  • Identify the stakeholders who will play a part in implementation.

The Adaptation Plan will:

  • Describe how we can create the conditions and capacity for everyone to act.
  • Describe who is responsible for various elements of adaptation planning.
  • Signpost to information communities can use to develop adaptation plans.
  • Establish governance for delivery.
  • Identify suitable metrics/indicators for monitoring.

The Action Plan will:

  • Identify priority impacts and actions for regional collaboration for the next 5 years.
  • Include diagrams of dynamic adaptation pathways for the five highest priority impacts to identify thresholds for switching from pathway to another.

Stakeholder consultation will occur through three key rounds in September, October, and December. In September this will be used to agree risks and urgency scores. In October it will explore the conditions and governance. The December round will prioritise the content of the Action Plan.

Project is due to complete in January 2023.

Questions from Group members

  • Sarah Gibbs asked at what point senior level representatives from the key organisations need to be engaged. Emily and Charles said that this needs to be left to each individual partner to determine what’s right for them.
  • Louise asked if the local CCRA can assess the magnitude of risks at 1.5 degrees, rather 2 degrees and 4 degrees. Charles said that planning for a more severe case than 1.5 is recommended as even if the UK meets its climate targets, there is a good chance this will not be achieved globally (based on current action). Therefore, it is recommended that we plan for 2 degrees (and consider 4 degrees) when considering the impacts of climate change. Stephen Swabey agreed and said that in terms of contingency planning, the organisational response will be similar for 1.5 as it is for 2. For designing things, the response may be different, but again planning for 2 degrees would be prudent and enabling incremental change beyond that is vital. Charles added that the Met Office projections indicate that impacts up to 2050 will be broadly similar in both a 2- and 4-degree warming scenario, with more notable differences occurring in the second half of the century.
  • Stephen observed that the approach we’re taking is focussed on the strategic-level ambition rather than community level. What’s the expectation about we link those two together? Charles said the focus will start at the strategic level to identify what key organisations can do. Setting up the conditions and framework by the strategic organisations for communities to take action will be part of the Adaptation Plan. Signposting for communities will be part of the summary documents. Tom Dauben added that the framework would benefit from identifying what local policies can create the conditions for communities to act, and separately what the capital investments need to be.
  • George Arnison asked about the level at which coastal change risks will be evaluated. Charles said it will be a higher strategic level, not looking at site specific issues (which is fulfilled by county- or local-level risk assessments and adaptation plans). It will look at common themes and issues across the three areas.

Questions from RSK to the Group

  1. What timescale has been used to review the risks in the CCRA so far. For example 5, 10, 20, 50 years.

ACTION: Emily to review this and provide an answer to Charles.

George said that sometimes a timescale isn’t so useful, but a threshold can be, such as a storm event causing a particular local outcome. Communities then to be prepared for what happens when that threshold is crossed. Slapton Line is a good example of where work has been going on for a long while.

2. Have there been any lessons learned in the process so far?

  • Sarah Gibbs said that previous workshops had generated a lot of discussion on each point which highlighted that partners are coming at this project from different angles.
  • Tom Dauben said it was clear in the earlier process that some areas received less scrutiny than others. For example coastal erosion could have had more scrutiny. It’s probably worth the Group reviewing the spreadsheet before RSK do detailed work.
  • Nick Paling said that South West Water are going through a learning process currently about the implications of climate change on water resources. The Water Resources Management Plan will be published in October for consultation.

3. What are the common themes for adaptation that unite Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly?

  • Nick said the desire for nature-based adaptation solutions but the lack of baseline and evidence about the level of contribution those solutions can make. Tom added that we also need to understand the long-term sustainability of the natural solutions that are being used – e.g. if trees are planted, will they be the right trees for 75 years’ time.
  • Tom said coastal erosion and sea level rise is a common issue. This is a risk for critical infrastructure, vulnerable communities and the planning policies that have enabled the situation to materialise.
  • George said the scale of the challenge is a further common issue. Nick agreed – magnitude of crisis situations and timescale over which adaptation needs to happen.
  • Doug said the adaptation measures that the land sector and agriculture will need to make are likely to be shared issues.
  • Emily added public health and policing response to the list.
  • Charles asked if tourism should be on the list. The Group agreed.
  • Rhys said the willingness of stakeholders to deliver this Plan, and the skills and knowledge available to deliver it, will need considering.  Stephen mentioned in the chat that a cross-cutting theme could be ‘putting in place the policy/regulatory environment that compels stakeholders to undertake adaptation planning and execution’.

3. AOB

Emily asked for any issues for AOB to be sent to by email to her for dissemination.

ACTION: All to send any AOB to Emily.

Scroll to Top