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DCERG minutes 5th September 2019

Devon Climate Emergency Response Group – minutes of meeting 5th September 2019.
Download a PDF copy of the minutes here.


Phil Norrey, Devon County Council (Chair)
Doug Eltham, Devon County Council
Tracey Polak, Public Health Devon
Ken Miles, North Devon District Council
David Eaton, Teignbridge District Council
Ginny Snaith, Devon Clinical Commissioning Group
John Golding, East Devon District Council
Stephen Walford, Mid Devon District Council
Jenny Wallace, Torridge District Council
Janet Williams, Torridge District Council
Justin Dudley, South Hams and West Devon Councils
James Szymankiewicz, Natural Devon
Emily Bullock, South Western Ambulance Service Trust
David Smith, South West Water
Harry Barton, Devon Wildlife Trust


Virginia Pearson, Devon Public Health
Peter Chamberlain, Devon County Council
Mark Williams, East Devon District Council
Sophie Hosking, South Hams and West Devon Councils
Patrick Devine-Wright, University of Exeter
Perry Hobbs, South West Water
Justin Bear, Plymouth City Council
Clare Reid, Exmoor National Park Authority

Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting were AGREED as a true record of the discussion.

Matters Arising from the Minutes

a. Project Manager Recruitment

Doug Eltham advised that the application window for the Climate Emergency Project Manager closed on the 2 September. Two colleagues from the Tactical Group, Sarah Higgins of North Devon District Council and Nicki Collas of Devon and Cornwall Police are helping with applicant sifting and interviewing respectively. Interviews are on the 12 September.

b. Net-Zero Task Force

Doug Eltham reported that the Net-Zero Task Force is appointed. The first meeting is scheduled for the 23 September at which the available resources and timetable of the Devon Carbon Plan project will be discussed and evidence will begin to be reviewed.

James Szymankiewicz asked if the thematic hearings and the citizens’ assembly sessions will be run in parallel or sequentially and how the speed will be maintained. Doug Eltham said that the process is planned to be sequential (i.e. the hearings will run first, and then the citizens’ assembly sessions) but that this can be amended if the Task Force recommended a different approach. The timetable is ambitious and this will be reviewed by the Task Force at its first meeting.

ACTION: All to note that officer resource provided by Response Group member organisations via the Tactical Group will be necessary to help plan and implement the thematic hearings and the sessions of the citizens’ assembly.

Justin Dudley asked if there was further clarity on what level of decarbonisation activity the Devon-wide process will focus on as it would be advantageous to avoid duplication of effort with district council and community activity, particularly regarding the use of district-level citizens’ assemblies.

Ken Miles reported from North Devon that they are working with local community groups to look at local specific issues to avoid duplication with the Devon-wide process.

Stephen Walford advised that Mid Devon will learn from the outputs of the Devon-wide citizens’ assembly, again not to duplicate effort.

David Eaton commented that Teignbridge are actively sign posting councillors to the work of the Devon-wide process

James Szymankiewicz advised categorising activity into levels: individual, community, system, national and global.

Overall opinion of the group was that the use of district-level citizens’ assemblies would duplicate work and would potentially water down the message due to saturation. The best way to remain engaged is to ensure that each district authority is involved in the Tactical Group which will be part of the planning and delivery of the thematic hearings and the citizens’ assembly alongside the Net-Zero Task Force. Information and evidence from the hearings and the assembly will made available to assist in local action planning.

It was AGREED that the Devon-wide process should focus on the system-level activity and influencing of national-level activity leaving district and community organisation plans to influence the individual and community-level activity.

ACTION: Doug Eltham to share this this categorisation with the Net-Zero Task Force for their consideration.

c. Funding for the Citizens’ Assembly Rapid Evidence Review

Doug Eltham advised that Devon County Council has contributed £10,000 towards a citizen’s assembly rapid evidence review following the unsuccessful Economy and Society Research Council (ESRC) application earlier in the summer. This will enable Patrick Devine-Wright and Alice Moseley at the University of Exeter to start the research. This will report by October and will be used to design the operation of the Devon climate emergency citizens’ assembly. A further funding bid will be submitted to the ESRC in September.

ACTION: Patrick Devine-Wright to resubmit the ESRC funding bid.

d. Consideration of wider environmental risks within the climate emergency

Harry Barton highlighted that how the wider natural environment is managed is a fundamental part of addressing the climate emergency, which is reflected in the composition of the Net-Zero Task Force. On this basis should the emergency be broadened to a ‘Climate and Environmental Emergency’? David Smith supported Harry’s assertion.

ACTION: Peter Chamberlain to convene a discussion with Harry Barton, David Smith and James Szymankiewicz to review the extent to which environmental and ecological issues are being considered within the climate emergency.

e. Green Great Britain Week

ACTION (carried forward from previous minutes): The Tactical Group to compile a list of projects to be publicised during Green Great Britain Week.

Local Updates

Partner organisations provided brief updates of activity contributing to the implementation of the Devon Climate Declaration’s requirement to review corporate carbon emissions.

Next Meeting

The next meetings are scheduled for Tuesday 8 October 11:00 – 12:00 and Tuesday 12 November 13:00 – 14:00. These will be dial-in meetings only.

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