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Climate Impacts Group Meeting Minutes, 9th April 2024


Mark Rice
Doug Eltham                                 
George Arnison                            
Claire Below                                
Tom Dauben                                
Donna Sibley                                 
Emily Reed                                     
Richard Sweatman                       
Sophie Goodall-Smith                 
Jess Pryer                                    
Laurence Couldrick                      
Liza Oxford                                   
Paul Minshull                                
Rhys Hobbs                                   
Louise Sawyer                               
Victoria Hatfield                           
Sara Gibbs                                     
Environment Agency (Chair)
Devon County Council (Natural Environment)
Environment Agency
Cornwall Council
Environment Agency
Torridge and North Devon Councils
Devon Climate Emergency
DCIoS Local Resilience Forum
Environment Agency
Met Office
Westcountry Rivers Trust
Plymouth City Council
Cornwall Council
Cornwall Council
Devon and Cornwall Police
Exeter City Council
Public Health Devon


Nick Paling
Kathryn Deeney
Nathan Streetley
Alex Rainbow
John Amosford
Carolyn Cadman
Paul Lunt
Maria Van Hove
Zoe Sydenham
Penny Tranter
Rebecca Williams
South West Water
Plymouth City Council
DCIoS Local Resilience Forum
Cornwall Council
Public Health Devon
South West Water
University of Plymouth
Public Health, Exeter University and Torbay Council
Plymouth City Council
Met Office
Isles of Scilly

1. Minutes of the previous meeting

A few actions were carried over:

ACTION: Emily and Sara to engage with the Communities team at Devon CC, and learn from Cornwall CC approach to community engagement around resilience planning.

ACTION: The Environment Agency to share information about their work with the Local Flood Action Groups. Tom will share more information about this.

ACTION – Doug to speak to Andy Bell at the Biosphere to find out more about the Biosphere Reserve’s bid to the National Lottery Community Fund.

2. Review of Natural Environment Risks CIG16 – CIG19

Four risks from the Natural Environment section of the regional Climate Adaptation Strategy were scheduled for review at today’s meeting. These are the risks with identification codes CIG16 – CIG19.  [Every risk in the Strategy is scheduled for review once a year].

This is an opportunity to raise any changes in the region which may have occurred since the risks were last reviewed in October 2022 which need to be noted and may impact on the risk ratings.

Mark invited comments from the group on the risks being considered.

Tom raised the issue that intertidal and freshwater habitat is lost when coastal squeeze occurs, which is home to unique species. This can sometimes be lost in conversations.

ACTION: Emily to add Tom’s comments to the narrative for CIG18 on the risk register.

Also related to CIG18, George reported a study looking into how sea level rise will impact habitats around Cornwall, and Donna said that Andy Bell at the Biosphere has looked at coastal squeeze in north Devon.

No changes were required to the risk ratings.

3. Review of Business and Industry Actions

Two actions in the Action Plan (Appendix 6) for the Business and Industry sector were reviewed at this meeting. Ahead of the meeting, Emily circulated a table that has collated local activity that is helping to implement each action. Comments on this were requested.

BIAA–3 – Develop and expand the Climate Emergency / Readiness Action group – (Steering group formed from business, public sector, and academia) to take the lead on more projects within the region (e.g. Climate Ready Clyde).

Tom asked whether we need better links with other climate partnerships and organisations not part of this Group. Emily said she is confident that relationships are strong with climate partnerships. Doug suggested we should expand the membership as per the action, and suggested this should be an agenda item for a future meeting.

ACTION: Discuss at a future meeting how the membership of the CIG should be expanded to have better representation of other interests, such as businesses.

BIAB–4 – Put in place a severe weather plan and resilience measures to ensure business continuity, sign up for alerts and check insurances for coverage on flooding / severe weather events.

Emily has asked the Environment Agency and Met Office about any information they have about the number of businesses signed up to flood and severe weather alerts. Emily has also contacted the South West Business Council and the insurance industry to get a feeling for how many businesses are preparing for climate and how many have insurance – the UK figure is that 44% of SMEs have no insurance at all.

Richard said that through the LRF, local authorities have a duty to promote to businesses and communities to plan business continuity for emergencies. Richard suggested contacting emergency planning teams to find out how active this is.

Tom said the Environment Agency has Business Flood Plans and can set up alerts for high priority businesses. E.g. it’s been done for power stations in the past.

Sara noted that every organisation needs to be doing this, not just businesses – e.g. hospitals, councils, universities.

ACTION: Emily will check where other organisation types are featured in the Adaptation Plan.

ACTION: Emily to speak further with the South West Business Council to get a better understanding of the baseline situation.

4. Feedback from the Climate Impacts Group to Devon and Cornwall climate partnerships.

Doug said it would be good to feedback the uncertainty discussed above about the extent to which businesses and organisations are preparing for climate change, and the actions we’ve discussed to establish a baseline understanding.

Rhys said Cornwall Council has been working with service areas to consider climate impacts and so this would tie in well with that initiative.

ACTION: Doug and Rhys to feedback to their respective partnerships.

5. Climate Adaptation Awareness Campaign

Emily introduced action HBEA-1, discussed at the previous meeting, which intends to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change. It was suggested at the previous meeting that coordinating our communication efforts would create better value. Therefore, Emily shared a Miro board on which to collate this activity to inform a coordinated campaign. Attendees joined the Miro board to add thoughts.

The Miro can be shared further with colleagues.

George and Sara suggested that in addition to coordinating our own comm’s, it would be advantageous to develop shared comm’s to elevate and spotlight the issue in a single and common way. Also, Emily agreed – some individual messages could be developed.

The Group discussed that there should also be messaging about taking adaptation action, reflecting on the last time an impact occurred, so that people are encouraged to prepare for impacts in addition to thinking about what they’ll do when the impact hits. And also that it can be helpful not to think about resilience in the silos/categories presented on the Miro.

Doug suggested that this conversation puts the onus on each of our organisations to expand our routine communications to include the resilience messages rather than just the response messages, and to join up with others in the partnership who are planning similar messages at the same time.

Jess said that the Weather Ready campaign run by the Met Office is focussed on the seasons and the messages change accordingly. Jess will see if the calendar for this campaign can be shared.

Mark said that the process of recording who is communicating when, about what, will be useful to identify gaps in topics.  

6. Funding Opportunities

Emily highlighted the National Lottery Climate Action Fund.

Laurence drew attention to the Water Restoration Fund.

7. Consideration of new risks and vulnerabilities

No additional risks and vulnerabilities were identified.

8. AOB

Rhys suggested the Local Climate Adaptation Tool, which Cornwall Council have been involved in the development of, as a future agenda item.

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