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Climate Impacts Group Meeting Minutes, 30th August 2023

Attendees

Mark Rice
Emily Reed
Sara Gibbs
Jess Pryer
Alex Rainbow
George Arnison
Louise Sawyer
Richard Sweatman
Rhys Hobbs
Paul Minshull
Harriet Googe
Claire Below
Environment Agency (Chair) 
Devon Climate Emergency 
Public Health Devon 
Met Office 
Cornwall Council 
Environment Agency 
Devon and Cornwall Police 
Devon and Cornwall Police  
Cornwall Council 
Cornwall Council 
Environment Agency 
Cornwall Council

Apologies

Doug Eltham
Laurence Couldrick
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 
Donna Sibley 
Emmanuelle Marshall
Ed Mellor
Lesley Newport
Stephen Swabey
Zoe Sydenham
Victoria Hatfield
Devon County Council (Natural Environment) 
Westcountry Rivers Trust 
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 
Torridge District and North Devon Councils 
Plymouth City Council 
DCIoS Local Resilience Forum 
Environment Agency 
Council of the Isles of Scilly 
Plymouth City Council 
Exeter City Council 

1. Minutes of the previous meeting

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

All matters arising are scheduled for discussion on the main agenda.

2. Climate Adaptation Strategy Consultation report 

Emily summarised the report on the Climate Adaptation Strategy consultation which had been circulated to the group on the 17th of August. The group was reminded to seek feedback from their organisations on the proposed amendments to the Strategy contained in the report, which respond to the feedback gained through the consultation.  

ACTION: All to share any comments on the proposed amendments with Emily by email before the meeting on the 30th of September or bring comments to the meeting. 

Sara Gibbs asked if there were further ways that young people could be engaged before the strategy is finalised given the low levels of responses from this age group to the consultation.  

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

3. Funding opportunities for adaptation 

It was noted that the funding landscape in the next year or so may be influenced by the run up to the next general election.  

Paul and George commented that funding deadlines are often very tight and require oven ready projects in preparation for funding opportunities. However, it is challenging to get capacity to develop projects without knowing where the funding will come from. 

Mark Rice shared that the Environment Agency are keen to support project development. 

Rhys Hobbs highlighted the importance of cost benefit analysis in order to underscore the business case for taking action, given the potential cost of inaction to prepare for climate impacts. Even if this only achieves increased revenue funding for maintenance it is of benefit. For instance, the recent increase in wildfires will have implications for increased staff hours, wear and tear of equipment etc. and the associated costs.  

Paul Minshull argued that we are going to have to move towards blended finance models, pulling in layered funding for projects which reflects the multiple benefits which will be delivered e.g. water quality, flood resilience etc. This might work best in the context of place-based solutions.  

George Arnison raised concerns that the actions in the strategy still need to be focused further and each action needs ownership by one organisation. This will help to give ownership to the drive to secure funding. Emily responded that the plan is very strategic and high level and therefore will need more detailed work to draw out the local implications but agreed that the next step was to get greater ownership of actions by stakeholders. 

Paul Minshull suggested that communities were best placed to take ownership of many projects because can be very motivated to act locally.  

It was AGREED that we ought to develop an implementation plan for the Climate Adaptation Strategy, which would include funding and how communities are supported to act.   

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

Emily shared the following funding opportunities. Some are less specifically about climate change, but could potentially be used to increase resilience to climate impacts 

4. AOB  

Emily shared details of two publications which might be of interest to the group:  

 Sara Gibbs highlighted upcoming events on adaptation being held by the University of Exeter’s Green Futures Network Adaptation Community of Practice. Sara and Emily will attend the meetings and feed back to the group. 

Sara Gibbs also reported that the UK Health Security Unit are also developing some useful resources on climate change. 

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