Climate Impacts Group Meeting Minutes, 20th May 2022

Attendees

Helen Dobby                                  Environment Agency

Emily Reed                                      Devon Climate Emergency

Doug Eltham                                  Devon County Council

Alex Rainbow                                 Cornwall Council

Elliot Batty                                      Local Resilience Forum

Jess Dickens                                    University of Exeter

Laurence Couldrick                       Westcountry Rivers Trust

Emmanuelle Marshall                  Plymouth City Council

Rhys Hobbs                                    Cornwall Council

Sara Gibbs                                      Public Health Devon

Louise Sawyer                                Devon and Cornwall Police

Stephen Swabey                            Isles of Scilly Council

Anya Gopfert                                 Health Education England

Apologies

Harriet Googe                                Environment Agency

Neil Hamlyn                                    Local Resilience Forum

Tom Dauben                                  Environment Agency

Ruth Rockley                                  Cornwall Council

Penny Tranter                                Met Office

Paul Minshull                                 Cornwall Council

1. Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as an accurate record. Most items will be picked up on today’s agenda.

One action is carried forward:

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

2. Presentation from Jess Dickens

Jess presented the Local Climate Adaptation Tool. The tool has been developed with Cornwall Council. The tool was showcased at COP26 and is currently a prototype. The tool allows climate projections to be viewed at Lower Super Output Area level, which can then be used to explore the future impacts on different sectors e.g. Active transport. The tool incorporates commentary on health impacts. It will subsequently advise on potential adaptation actions.

Laurence and Jess will catch-up about the opportunity to test the tool in a catchment-planning application.

Louise said she will make an introduction between Jess and Shaun West, who is the national climate lead for the Police.

Emmanuelle asked if there are plans to expand the tool beyond Cornwall. Jess said the aspiration is to have the whole of the UK covered but where next is not yet decided.

Sara said this tool is just what’s needed to help public health adaptation, particularly with its attention on inequalities.

Helen will look to get an invite for Jess to speak at the South West Place Shaping Group – a government-led group focusing on levelling-up.

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

3. Appointment of a contractor to accelerate the work of the group

Emily Reed updated the group. We have 7 responses. The moderation of the responses has had to be delayed by a week. It is anticipated that the contract will be awarded in early June, to allow service delivery to begin later in the month.

4. Partner updates

Helen shared her experience of the South West Policy Festival – a government event that brought departments together to understand how science was informing policy. The event focused on the environment. It was an opportunity to have a conversation about how we can better link emerging research with policy development. As a result the Climate Impacts Group has been offered regular attendance to the South West Place Shaping Group, which could be an opportunity to accelerate our activity.

ACTION: Helen will share key points from the South West Place Shaping Group, and invite Jess to speak.

Laurence updated the group on a series of three workshops the Westcountry Rivers Trust had run with stakeholders in the River Camel about how agricultural practices could be changed over the long term to help with water quality.

ACTION: Laurence to share the learnings from the Camel workshops with Emily for dissemination.

Stephen provided an update on the ongoing climate adaptation work on the islands. Stakeholder engagement has been continuing. Sea level rise is often people’s first concern, followed by drought (because the islands already desalinate water). Third is fog, which grounds aircraft which has consequences for the economy, but also the delivery of important supplies. Interestingly, the UKCP18 climate projections don’t model fog. Stephen has also noticed that communities are happier talking about their lived experiences rather than engaging with risk assessments. Helping people think about the future by using reference points has also been fruitful – e.g. ‘What do you imagine doing when you are retired?’, rather than ‘What do you think your town will look in 20 years?’

Emily said that Rothamsted Research is developing a Resilient Farming Futures project. It will 1) look at the impact of climate change on agriculture, 2) experiment with climate stresses on specific crops, 3) understand what resilience looks like and develop a decision making tool.

ACTION: Emily to remain engaged with the Resilient Farming Futures project to feedback to the group.

Sarah Gibbs reported that Lucinda Brooke at Plymouth City Council is leading a consortium bid from local authorities in Devon into the Local Government Association’s Behavioural Insights programme to look at how we can change people’s behaviour in relation to energy efficiency but also overheating.

Helen suggested site visits to some of these initiatives during the annual programme would be helpful.