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Climate Impacts Group Meeting Minutes, 27th September 2023

Attendees

Mark Rice
Emily Reed
Doug Eltham
Laurence Couldrick
Donna Sibley
Emmanuelle Marshall
Stephen Swabey
Rhys Hobbs
Paul Minshull
Kirsty Hill
Kathryn Deeney
Ed Mellor
Amanda Palmer
Louise Sawyer
Claire Below
Harriet Googe 
Environment Agency (Chair) 
Devon Climate Emergency 
Devon County Council (Natural Environment) 
Westcountry Rivers Trust 
Torridge District and North Devon Councils 
Plymouth City Council 
Council of the Isles of Scilly 
Cornwall Council 
Cornwall Council 
Public Health Devon 
Plymouth City Council 
DCIoS Local Resilience Forum 
Devon County Council (Public Health) 
Devon and Cornwall Police 
Cornwall Council 
Environment Agency 

Apologies

Jess Pryer
Alex Rainbow
George Arnison 
Richard Sweatman
Sara Gibbs
Paul Lunt
Richard Saville
Nick Paling
Carolyn Cadman
Maria Van Hove
Jacqui Warren
Ruth Rockley
Stacy Griffiths
Anya Gopfert
James Cooper
James Kershaw
Tom Dauben
Lesley Newport
Zoe Sydenham
Victoria Hatfield
Met Office 
Cornwall Council 
Environment Agency 
Devon and Cornwall Police  
Public Health Devon 
University of Plymouth 
Cornwall Council 
South West Water 
South West Water 
Public Health, Exeter University and Torbay Council 
Torbay Council 
Cornwall Council 
Wales & West Utilities  
Environment Agency / Torbay Council 
Environment Agency 
Devon County Council 
Environment Agency 
Environment Agency 
Plymouth City Council 
Exeter City Council 

1. Minutes of the previous meeting

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

Two actions are carried over: 

ACTION: Emily to reach out to the Devon Youth Parliament to get their feedback on the strategy.  

ACTION: Emily Reed and Mark Rice to meet to discuss the implementation plan. 

2. Climate Adaptation Strategy Consultation report 

Emily advised that some partners have provided feedback on the proposed amendments to the Strategy. Emily encouraged others to feedback in the meeting.  

Emmanuelle and Donna advised that they are content with the proposed amendments. Emmanuelle said it would be helpful to think about how we can make the presentation of the document more accessible when it’s published. Emily said we’ll certainly look to make it more engaging as this was a theme that arose from the public consultation also.  

Next steps are to: 

  1. Make the amendments and bring the final document to the next meeting on the 25th October for sign off by this group. 
  1. Subsequently, each of the three climate partnerships can endorse the document however they feel appropriate for their areas. As an example, in Devon, we expect to take the document to the devon Climate Emergency Response Group on the 3rd November for endorsement by the Devon Climate Emergency partnership. 
  1. Subsequently, each member organisation of the Climate Impacts Group can take the document through its own governance procedures on a timetable that works for them.  

Rhys said Cornwall Council is looking to take the Strategy to Cabinet in the autumn but with the preparation time required it means the final Strategy is required soon. 

ACTION: Emily to make the changes to the document and circulate ahead of the meeting on the 25th October.  

ACTION: Emily to speak with Rhys about the timetable.  

ACTION: Emily to follow up with Tom and George to check the Environment Agency’s position.  

3. The Adverse Weather Health Plan 

There were 1,012 excess deaths due to the Level4/RED extreme heat warning in summer 2022. Considered annually across the UK, the projected cost of heat-related mortality from climate change combined with socioeconomic change amounts to £6.4bn.  

The 2023 Adverse Weather and Health Plan from the UK Health Security Agency brings together the previous heatwave and cold weather plans. It is a broad framework with suggested actions to be adapted to support organisational plans. It advocates a shift to prevention and longer-term planning.  

In particular, it ensures estates, facilities and infrastructure are prepared and advises on training for staff. It includes actions for both prevention of overheating and response measures.  

A benefit to cost ratio is provided for adaptation options, all of which return a benefit in-excess of  their investment.  

Discussion 

Amanda said that Devon districts are increasingly interested in what’s going on to respond to climate change, particularly for the forthcoming winter. Amanda suggested that the Group needs to consider how we can seize that appetite to share good practice and practical actions with communities. Emily said that the Devon Association of Local Councils could be a good way to do this.  

Laurence said that the WCRT has been involved in monitoring projects with colleagues in Europe. What’s become clear is that the co-benefits of resilience projects are all inter-related for health and environment. What’s also needed is some thought about how to transfer solutions we’re seeing in rural areas into urban areas.  

Kathryn encouraged the group to bring together its expertise to ensure climate is not worsening inequalities, which is going to need a systems approach. The cost-benefit information is going to be helpful when preparing business cases for action, but more detail behind the numbers would be necessary. Kirsty said we should be able to get more detailed information from the UK Health Security Agency. Kirsty also said that people who are most vulnerable to climate change are often people who are vulnerable to other pressures and so there will be opportunities to use existing contact points between our agencies to find the people that need the assistance.  

Rhys commented that the Local Climate Adaptation Tool is in the beta phase and that could be used as a strategic tool to enable local councils to steer decisions. But it’s not necessarily meant for the public.  

Mark asked Emily if the draft Strategy encompasses the themes of the discussion this afternoon. Emily feels that it does.   

Doug proposed whether we should be doing more to help Members understand the detail of this agenda – climate projections and the support available through local projects to communities this winter. Amanda suggested perhaps an initial stage of engaging with Members to understand their needs would be welcomed by them.  

Kathryn said support would probably be welcomed, but it’s such a large agenda, so what about identifying a short list of priorities from the Strategy for the next few months? 

Donna added that organisations often want certainty to help with their future planning, but of course climate projections are not definite and instead present ranges for different variables, which in itself is a deterrent to taking action.  

ACTION: Implementation plans for the Adaptation Strategy to ensure Members and communities are fully involved.  

4. Funding opportunities for adaptation  

Emily has identified a few funding opportunities, which will be distributed by email with these minutes.  

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