ABOUT THE DEVON CARBON PLAN
WHAT IS IT?
The Devon Carbon Plan is the roadmap for how Devon will reach net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
It has been built around Devon’s greenhouse gas emissions. Activity to reduce these emissions have been divided into five sections: economy and resources; energy supply; food, land and sea; transport; and the built environment.
Each section of the Plan:
- Describes what needs to happen in Devon to achieve the Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) Further Ambition Scenario for net-zero by 2050 – irrespective of the current legislative or financing environment.
- Displays the trajectory of emissions to net-zero by 2050.
- Introduces a set of goals which need to be realised to overcome barriers to achieving the CCC net-zero scenario.
- Proposes strategic-level actions to achieve the goals, identified by specialists, the public and the members of the Devon Climate Assembly. These are split into two categories – those that can be implemented locally and those that need action beyond Devon, generally by relevant organisations in Devon working with government on specific issues.
Organisations around Devon are already working towards net-zero. To find out more about what’s happening in Devon, take a look at our Taking Action pages.
PARTNER ORGANISATIONS WHO HAVE ENDORSED THE DEVON CARBON PLAN:
- Dartmoor National Park Authority
- Devon County Council
- East Devon District Council
- Devon Association of Local Councils
- Plymouth City Council
- Mid Devon District Council
- Devon Wildlife Trust
- Torridge District Council
- Torbay Council
- Exeter City Council
- North Devon District Council
- South Hams District Council
- Teignbridge District Council
- Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership
West Devon Borough Council has noted the ambition and objectives of the Devon Carbon Plan, and will revise its Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan and assess the financial and resource implications required to show how it would contribute to delivering the Devon Carbon Plan.
Creating the Devon Carbon Plan involved five stages.
The Task Force assessed contributions from the evidence gathering phase and worked with the partners to identify which actions would be most publicly acceptable and less difficult to implement. These ideas were used to produce an Interim Devon Carbon Plan that was published for consultation on the 7th December 2020. The Consultation Report describes the consultation process and its findings.
The views of the public played an important role in the production of the Final Devon Carbon Plan. The more challenging or controversial issues identified from the evidence gathering phase were put to a Citizens’ Assembly in summer 2021. The assembly comprised of a representative sample of Devon’s citizens from different social backgrounds, including young people over 16. They had the opportunity to develop informed opinions and collectively develop, discuss and review policy recommendations on decarbonising Devon.
Following the Devon Climate Assembly, the Devon Climate Emergency Partnership has worked together to develop actions that respond to assembly member’s recommendations. We then consulted the public on these actions, to ensure that the actions are fair, democratic and help us achieve net-zero.
Once the public consultation concluded, the Net-Zero Task Force brought everything together to produce a Final Devon Carbon Plan, which was published in September 2022.
THE TASK FORCE
A Net-Zero Task Force was appointed. Using their specialist knowledge and experience, the members produced an evidence-led Devon Carbon Plan in collaboration with the partnership’s members. The Task Force reviewed the evidence, and found that 2050 was the earliest, credible date for net-zero emissions unless national targets are revised.
The Net-Zero Task Force is chaired by Patrick Devine Wright who is a professor at the University of Exeter and leading climate expert and IPCC author.
The members have considerable expertise in topics relevant to carbon reduction and are drawn from economic, environmental, health, community and academic organisations.
Read the Net-Zero Task Force terms of reference
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE CHANGES THAT ARE NEEDED TO CREATE A NET-ZERO DEVON.
DEVON CARBON PLAN – YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
The Devon Carbon Plan has been produced with extensive collaboration with the people of Devon – from the general public and communities to organisations, businesses, local authorities and climate experts.
It was developed in stages from 2019 to 2022:
- The convening of a Net-Zero Task Force by the partnership. The Task Force consists of 15 volunteer specialists in topics relevant to carbon reduction to steer the creation of this Devon Carbon Plan. They are drawn from business, community, environmental and academic organisations.
- A three-month Call for Evidence, in which anyone could submit their ideas for how Devon can achieve net-zero.
- A Youth Parliament Climate Summit to gather input from young people in Devon.
- Thematic Hearings bringing together topic experts from communities, businesses and academia to discuss barriers to reaching net-zero and what actions are necessary to overcome them.
- A public consultation on the Interim Devon Carbon Plan for initial feedback.
- A Devon Climate Assembly formed of a representative sample of Devon’s citizens considered how Devon should meet the big challenges of climate change.
- A second public consultation on the partnership’s response to how the Assembly’s recommendations were proposed to be incorporated into the Devon Carbon Plan.
You can read more about how the Plan was produced here.
Communities in Devon have started imagining what their places will look like in a net-zero future through our Net Zero Visions project. We can expect more trees and green spaces, healthier rivers, estuaries and beaches, more space for people to walk and to ride bicycles safely and plenty of electric cars making our streets quieter and the air cleaner. Buildings will have solar panels and water butts and may have external insulation to make them easier to heat and keep them cool in summer.
A resurgence of truly local services would enable people to have the choice of accessing the services they frequently need (e.g. food store, school, medical practice, post office) within a short walk of their home. This reduces the need to travel longer distances (saving money, time and reducing carbon emissions), keeps money in the local economy and offers local employment. It can help us become healthier, too, because those of us who are able to would find ourselves walking or cycling more often. This idea is sometimes referred to as a ’20-minute neighbourhood’ and there are plenty of places in Devon where these already exists. We all have a role to play in making a place like this though, because the local shop, post office or pub only thrive if we use them. But of course people would still able to travel to services further afield – it would be entirely up to you!
To lower emissions from transport, we need to reduce the need to travel, shift to sustainable transport options and use technology to reduce emissions from vehicles. This looks like:
- Using the internet to work flexibly from work hubs or from home when appropriate, and use technology to access services remotely.
- Having easy, quick access to key local services (see ‘What could our neighbourhoods look like?) that will mean we don’t need to travel too far if we don’t want to, so we can walk and cycle – maybe with an electric bike to combat those Devon hills!
- Better access to shared options, like car clubs and electric bike rental schemes.
- Improved access to public transport that’s attractive, efficient, reliable and affordable.
- Easy use of electric cars aided by a dense network of charging points
- More opportunities to transition quickly and easily between different types of transport to complete your journey.
You can continue to eat whatever you wish! However in a net-zero Devon there will be a greater choice of sustainably-produced, affordable and healthy food options generally involving less red meat and dairy, that give more information to you about how they have been produced. This will help you make the healthier and more environmentally-friendly choice, which will often support local growers, if you want to.
Farmers will continue to produce high quality food and they will have been helped to make their practices more climate friendly to restore soil quality and the amount of carbon it contains.
Practices that enhance and maintain soil carbon include:
- Regenerative practices. These include techniques that rotate crops with livestock grazing; reduce tilling and ploughing; and planting cover crops after the main crop has been harvested.
- Agroforestry. This incorporates varieties of trees, hedges and shrubs into cropland and grazing land.
- Pasture-based livestock farming (permanent and leys). Animals raised solely on grass reduce soil tillage by removing the need to grow supplementary feed, and the manures and plant roots enable soil health to improve.
In addition to the practices above, there is evidence that organic farming can enhance and maintain soil carbon and provide more nutritious food.
Alongside producing food, farmers will be paid by government to provide other public goods through the Environmental Land Management scheme. These goods are:
- Clean and plentiful water
- Clean air
- Thriving plants and wildlife
- Beauty, heritage and engagement
- Protection from and mitigation of hazards (e.g. reducing flood risk)
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change
These will be achieved by, for example, planting buffer strips (areas of permanent vegetation) between fields and streams, planting cover crops in bare fields to reduce soil erosion, planting trees on riverbanks, planting areas of woodland and installing ponds and dams.
New industries will be needed to meet net-zero. Devon has world-class expertise in environment and green technologies to facilitate the transition and benefit from the opportunity to create new jobs and local value.
Green jobs are a huge growth opportunity across the UK. Since 2020, 68,000 jobs have been created in renewable energy and clean technology roles already! The government has setup the Green Jobs Delivery Group to create and support up to 480,000 green jobs by 2030. These jobs will be in sectors such as:
The Built Environment
- The design and build of low carbon homes
- The supply and use of timber in construction
- Hydrogen production
- Carbon capture and storage
- Renewable energy development and construction
- Electricity system infrastructure
- Installation of measures to retrofit buildings to reduce their energy demand and increase their ability to generate their own electricity
- Battery cell manufacture
- Transport innovation and manufacture
- Retrofitting ships to run on ammonia and new ship building skills
Agriculture and Land Use
- Skills for land managers to transition to new low carbon management techniques
- Crop and livestock research and development
Get in touch with your local further education and training centre to find out how they can help you into a green career!
We need to get better use from everyday items and see waste as a resource, so that instead of each of us buying items, using them and throwing them away, we share resources, lease instead of own, swap, repair, buy second hand, reuse and recycle. This is often easier said than done, like many things to do with net-zero, but support is available!
Communities are being supported to setup waste and resources projects like Repair Cafes, Swap Shops and Community Larders. In the future you won’t have to throw something away when it breaks – you’ll be able to find somebody locally who can repair it for you. This should save you money and help make the planet’s limited resources go further.
Waste collection services across the County are becoming more consistent to reduce confusion between areas and give everybody the opportunity to recycle a wider variety of separated materials.
Energy will come from low carbon and renewable sources. The latest analysis from the Committee on Climate Change, shows that 20% will come from nuclear and biomass power stations, 70% from renewables (largely wind and solar) and the final 10% from solutions that include battery storage, compressed-air storage and ‘responsive demand’ – this means paying large energy users to change the time of day they are using power. In addition, a small amount of supply will come from hydrogen or gas power stations fitted with carbon capture technology – this is needed should the UK experience gaps lasting days to weeks where the wind is light and it is cloudy. This solution, relying largely on renewable energy, is the cheapest way to generate the bulk of the country’s electricity.
In Devon we’ll see more solar farms, onshore wind turbines, storage technologies, hydrogen manufacturing and solar on buildings. Wastes from farms will be used in anaerobic digestors to produce electricity and biogas for use in the local community.
Our homes will be more energy efficient, having been upgraded with more insulation, low carbon heating systems like heat pumps (maybe operating in tandem with a green gas or hydrogen boiler), a solar PV system on the roof and high performance doors and windows. We’ll also have improved ventilation systems that will keep the air inside fresh and dry without letting all that lovely warmth escape!
This will mean cheaper energy bills and more comfort. We’re establishing a Devon energy advice service to help people make these improvements.
For more information about understanding climate change, please see our climate science FAQs.