Close this search box.

Climate Task Force, Meeting Minutes, 26th September 2023


Claire Pearce

Lyndis Cole

Richard Betts

Ian Hutchcroft

Gill Westcott

George Middlemiss

Harriet Bell

Ashish Ghadiali

Clark Denby

Peter Nickol

James Shorten

Kalkidan Legesse

Lidia Pearce

Nik Bowyer


Laura Cardenas

Hannah Lawrie

Jo Atkey

Patrick Devine-Wright

Ian Bailey

Tim Jones


Emily Reed

Charlotte Brown

Doug Eltham

1. Apologies and introductions

Members introduced themselves and their backgrounds.

2. Background to Devon Climate Emergency

Emily provided information about:

  • The background to the Devon Climate Emergency project and its structure.
  • How the Devon Carbon Plan was prepared.
  • How the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Strategy is being prepared.

The detail is available in the slide deck accompanying these minutes.

3. Climate Task Force Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference were circulated to the Task Force ahead of the meeting.

Emily explained that the previous Net-Zero Task Force was disbanded following the completion of its output – the Devon Carbon Plan. The Partnership decided it needs independent scrutiny of progress at delivering the Devon Carbon Plan and the Devon aspects of the Adaptation Strategy – hence the creation of this Climate Task Force. The Task Force is expected to submit quarterly recommendations to the Response Group, and an annual report summarising its opinion of progress.

ACTION: Emily to setup a shared drive for document sharing.

Richard asked whether the Task Force will scrutinise progress of emissions reduction against carbon budgets as well as progress at delivering projects. Emily said it would. Carbon budgets have been prepared for Devon using the Climate Change Committee’s Further Ambition Scenario apportioned to Devon. Annual emissions are published two-years behind the current date due to the frequency that the underlying data sets are published by UK government. The latest data set for 2021 has been received from the University of Exeter recently and will be published soon. These will be brought to the Task Force for scrutiny. Emily further added that a set of monitoring indicators are being collated, too, as proxy indicators of progress.

Kalkidan suggested that it would be helpful for the Task Force to understand how the carbon emissions data is prepared. Harriet and Claire agreed.

ACTION: Emily to invite the University of Exeter to the next meeting to discuss how the carbon emissions data is compiled.

Nik noted that 2020 and 2021 were subject to COVID lockdowns and so caution will be needed when looking at data from those years.

Lyndis asked whether this Group will be expected to look at the interactions between the Adaptation Strategy and the Carbon Plan, e.g. the recent experience of record-breaking flash-flooding also loses soil carbon. Emily confirmed that the Group will be expected to look at those interactions.

4. Introduction to and discussion of the Priority Action Progress Reports

The Task Force was presented with Priority Action Progress Reports for the Built Environment and the Economy & Resources sections of the Carbon Plan.

Emily previously circulated how the priority actions have been identified. These were identified by working with the University of Exeter and the previous Net-Zero Task Force to determine the likely carbon saving arising downstream from each action, in combination with the ease that the action could be delivered.

Emily said that these progress reports are compiled to show the Response Group where action is progressing and where it is not. This informs where their intervention to unblock issues might be necessary.

Ian offered a challenge to the Task Force to ensure it is maintaining the message of urgency to the climate partnership and the Response Group. Claire agreed.

Harriet suggested that progress on all of the actions in the Carbon Plan need to be reported in the update. Emily said that is certainly the ambition. With current resources the partnership is focussed on reporting the priority actions. In the chat Harriet said that seeing the full list of actions would be useful in the meantime.

ACTION: Secretariat to share the full list of actions.

ACTION: Secretariat to consider when resources will enable to report on the full set of actions.

Claire asked how the activity is being communicated to the public. Emily said that Taking Action posts are regularly posted on the project website, and these are repeated on social media channels and in the monthly newsletter. Stories are also repeated on partners’ news channels and as press releases.

ACTION: Task Force members to consider following the social media channels and signing up for the newsletter.

Nik said that identifying case studies from other places and from our own experiences can be identified by the Task Force and incorporated into recommendations to the Response Group.

Richard suggested that if an action is ‘green’, then a follow-up action should be identified. Emily said that the ‘action next quarter’ column could be used to do that. However, ‘green’ doesn’t mean that the action is complete, just that progress is acceptable.

ACTION: Secretariat to redesign traffic-light to distinguish between projects that are complete and those progressing at an acceptable rate.

Kalkidan suggested identifying the stakeholders for each action – who are the gate keepers, what tasks are they needed to deliver to move action along? Who are the target of the action? Who are the people whose behaviour the action is needing to change? Ashish and Nik supported this point. Emily said that we can link to the sections of the Carbon Plan that contain each of the actions, as that adds some of this context. The Plan also has a list of the stakeholders who will be implementing each action, so that can be added to the report, too.

ACTION: Emily to add further information about stakeholders relevant to each action in the report.

Kalkidan further said that defining measures of success would also help the Task Force understand progress with each action. Data could then be reported against each of the success measures and the amount of carbon that will be saved. Emily said that many of the actions are enabling actions that in themselves won’t save carbon – e.g. setting up an energy advice service in itself doesn’t save carbon; it’s people installing the measures in their properties that saves carbon, but it’s the advice service that was identified during the evidence gathering phase of the production of the Carbon Plan as the measure that is necessary to help people with retrofitting their homes. Emily noted that there is a challenge from the Task Force to identify measures of success for each action, which in many cases won’t be carbon.

Kalkidan also asked for the progress reports to be put on the shared drive ahead of the meetings so that comments could be added by the Task Force members.

ACTION: Secretariat to share the progress reports well ahead of each meeting on the shared drive.

Harriet also asked whether the Task Force will need to wait until the next meeting for updates or whether communication between the meetings can happen? Emily said we can communicate updates between the meetings – Claire agreed.

ACTION: Secretariat to respond to this request initially with a 6-weekly update on the implementation of the actions in these minutes. Interim communication can be kept under review.

4.1. Built Environment

Emily introduced the priority actions from the Built Environment section of the Carbon Plan.

Lidia asked whether the Built Environment section of the Carbon Plan applies to commercial as well as domestic buildings, and where is infrastructure captured? Emily said that it does cover commercial buildings, and the carbon intensity of infrastructure is addressed in the economy and resources section of the Plan.

Harriet said it looks like one individual is responsible for Actions B1 and B6. Emily clarified that there is one person coordinating B6 with the assistance of the Energy Saving Devon partnership to deliver it. Harriet agreed with Kalkidan’s earlier point that measures of success for Energy Saving Devon would be really helpful.  

Ian said that there are some new projects that need to be added against Action B1 – Ian has emailed these to Emily.

ACTION: Emily to add Ian’s additions to the report.

4.2. Economy and Resources

Harriet noted that Action R17 is amber but there are no follow-up actions or issues described.

ACTION: Emily to add issues for Action R17.

Harriet asked what the uptake of the courses offed under Action R22 has been.

ACTION: Emily to find out the uptake of the courses. This could be a measure of success for this action.

Harriet further said that quite a few of the updates are about locally-specific projects somewhere in Devon. E.g. Harriet had enquired about a farm advice initiative that is only available in South Hams and West Devon. It would be helpful to indicate whether there are plans to transfer the actions to other areas, and if not, why not.

ACTION: When preparing progress reports, secretariat to see if the aspiration from the climate partnership to deliver the initiative elsewhere in the county can be established.

5. Schedule of Meetings for 2023/23

Emily has circulated a schedule of meetings to the Task Force. The next meeting is the 12th December. Progress reports for the priority actions in the Transport; Food, Land & Sea; Cross Cutting Themes; and Energy Supply will be shared ahead of this meeting.

Scroll to Top