Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting, 10th August 2023

Attendees

Meg Booth
Doug Eltham
David Bartram
Emily Reed
David Eaton
Rebecca Miller
Lesley Newport
Victoria Hatfield
Claire Gibson
John Amosford
David Edmondson
James Cooper
Adam Williams
Chris Clarke
Jason Ball
Donna Sibley
Devon County Council (Chair)
Devon County Council (Environment Group)
Exeter City Council
Devon Climate Emergency
Teignbridge District Council
Plymouth City Council
Environment Agency
Exeter City Council
Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership
Public Health Devon
Torbay Council
Environment Agency
South Hams and West Devon Councils
Wales and West Utilities
Mid Devon District Council
Torridge and North Devon District Councils

Apologies

Charlotte Brown
Mark Kentell
Polly Frost
Keir Duffin
Paul Elliott
Sally Basker
Lewis Garvey
Emmanuelle Marshall
Penny Tranter
Drew Powell
Stephen Walford
Matt O’Dowd
Alex Gandy
Sara Gibbs
David Rose
Claire Reid
Angus Berry
Devon Climate Emergency
North Devon Council
Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise)
Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise)
Plymouth City Council
Exeter Science Park
Wales and West Utilities
Plymouth City Council
Met Office
South Hams and West Devon District Councils
Mid Devon District Council
National Grid ESO
Dartmoor National Park Authority
Public Health Devon
South West Water
Exmoor National Park Authority
South West Water

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes were accepted to be a true record. Two actions carried over:

ACTION: Emily to look for national data on concern and opinions about climate change as a benchmark to compare the consultation results to.

ACTION: Sara Gibbs to share a report which Public Health have produced on anchor institutions.

2. Project Progress Report

2.1 General Project Communications

Doug provided an update reflecting Section 1.1 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes.

It was AGREED to mark the 12 month anniversary of the publishing of the Devon Carbon Plan in September/October by highlighting what’s been achieved and also the significant challenges. This should explain how the Plan has influenced devolution.

ACTION: Emily and Charlotte to prepare comm’s collateral to mark the 12 month anniversary of publishing the Devon Carbon Plan.

2.2 Devon Carbon Plan Update

Emily provided an update reflecting Section 2 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes and a progress report on the Priority Actions in the Transport section of the Devon Carbon Plan.

There are seven priority actions of which five were presented as ‘green’, one ‘amber’ and one ‘red’.

The red action – ‘T8 – Support community bike rental schemes’ was recorded as such due to the demise of co-bikes and co-cars in Exeter, but the Group acknowledged the success of the launch of Beryl bikes in Plymouth. Meg reported that there is considerable interest from operators of shared bike schemes to pick up the Exeter initiative. There will be a competitive exercise in the autumn.

Claire said the oversight group for ‘T1 – Continue the roll-out of the Connecting Devon and Somerset programmes’ should be Devon County Council rather than the Local Enterprise Partnership.

ACTION: Emily to amend the oversight group for T1 to DCC.

David Edmondson agreed with the amber status of ‘T18 – Protect and enhance funding for local bus routes’ as, despite some assistance from government, commercial decisions by the operators are affecting services at the moment, which Meg confirmed is affecting services across Devon with some services being handed back to local authorities, which then have to determine if funding is available to continue them.

David Eaton and David Edmondson reported issues with the speed of deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Torbay and East Devon as part of the Devon-wide EU-funded DELETTI project. Chargers are on their way but delayed. Jason reminded the Group that the scale of delivery will receive a step-change once the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure projects ramp-up in the autumn. The group AGREED to change the status of this action (T33) to amber from green.

ACTION: Doug to update indicator status to Amber for T33 and to enquire with the DELETTI project manager about the delays in Torbay and East Devon.

Victoria asked whether the progress reports are being made public. Emily confirmed they will be via the website. This transport report and the previous reports on other topics should be live in the next month or so.

2.3 Climate Adaptation Strategy Update

Emily provided an update reflecting Section 3 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes.

No further questions asked.

3. Nominations for Members of the Climate Task Force

The Climate Task Force is replacing the Net-Zero Task Force, to reflect the need have independent challenge for the delivery of the Devon Carbon Plan and the DCIoS Adaptation Strategy.

Following the acceptance of the Chair by Claire Pearce, the Response Group discussed a short list of nominees for membership to fill the skills and experience gaps identified. Emily shared a matrix demonstrating how each nominee contributed to filling these gaps.

It was AGREED to add ‘strategic energy generation’ as an additional experience category and show which members fulfilling it.

ACTION: Emily to add ‘strategic energy generation’ the skills and experience matrix.

John Amosford suggested doing a quantitative analysis of the fulfilment of each skill and experience requirement by the members to show which are over and underrepresented, which could be useful in filling future positions on the Task Force.

ACTION: Emily to quantify the fulfilment of the skills and experience on the Task Force.

David Edmondson said we need clear terms of engagement with all Climate Task Force members to ensure information shared is not used beyond the purposes of the project and that the partners or project is not brought into disrepute. John Amosford suggested a review period to ensure skills and experiences remain represented in case of any resignations or substitutions.

ACTION: Emily to update the Terms of Reference of the Task Force accordingly.

The Group AGREED that the required skills and experience is fulfilled by the nominees.

ACTION: Emily to invite the nominees to the Climate Task Force.

The first meeting of the Task Force is expected to be at the end of September. It will subsequently meet quarterly.

4. Net-Zero and Adaptation Delivery Issues

David Edmondson reported that the two new solar farms in Torbay are awaiting connection to the hospital and South West Water’s facilities. Also that the authority now has two new posts working on the climate emergency.

Doug advised that, like other authorities, the way the next phase of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is being launched is frustrating because an exact date has yet to be released – we just know it will be the end of September. Collating the necessary data for the application during the school holidays is challenging.

Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report 

Period: July to August 2023

Status Indicator Key:  

🔴 [RED] = Significant issue that requires Response Group intervention;  

🟠 [AMBER] = Minor issue that will initially be managed by the secretariat, but the Response Group should be aware;  

🟢 [GREEN] = No issue.  

1. Partnership Update 

1.1 General Project Communications [GREEN] 

1.1.1 Following 🟢 [GREEN]

Growth remains positive but has slowed, which may be due to a reduction in activity over the summer break.

Posts targeting specific personas – segments of our audience – are being trialled and evaluated. These include posts focused on businesses, young people, and communities, among others.

A line graph showing the increase in online communications following
Figure 1.1. DCE Social Media Following

1.1.2 Campaigns and Projects

Net-Zero Visions Curriculum Material 🟢 [GREEN]

The resource pack has been finalised following feedback and will be made available to all schools. The Sustainability Bulletin that goes to all schools in Devon in September will be used to do this.

A selection of resources created for the Net Zero Visions project are now available on the Devon Climate Emergency website, alongside project art, public art submissions, the Net Zero Visions book and other information.

1.2 Partners’ Notable Activity

Activity is recorded centrally on the Taking Action pages of the Devon Climate Emergency website.

  • The Devon Agri-Tech Alliance (DATA) aims to support Devon’s agricultural sector by making innovation easier and more accessible.
  • The new Marsh Barton Railway Station opened to the public, helping to ease traffic congestion and provide more sustainable travel options for locals.
  • East Devon District Council (EDDC) and their waste contractor Suez have spoken to more than 500 local primary school pupils about the value of recycling.
  • Adding to South West Water’s (SWW) existing fleet of 16 electric vehicles (EVs), a further 37 EVs will come into use later this year.
  • The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, has awarded £7.5 million to the Supergen ORE Impact Hub led by the University of Plymouth.
  • The University of Exeter is part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers involved in a new research Hub which will tackle challenges associated with the wider use of hydrogen in the UK.
  • Devon County Council’s Community Energy Fund has funded several projects to create new energy companies, deliver additional training places, and engage communities in the Community Energy sector.
  • A BMW partnership with National Parks has been confirmed and is set to fund electric vehicle (EV) charge points throughout Parks including Dartmoor and Exmoor.

1.3 New Governance Structure 🟢 [GREEN]

  • We are delighted that Claire Pearce has accepted the invitation to chair the Climate Task Force. Attention is now on who else needs to join the Climate Task Force to ensure a spread of necessary expertise and experience.
  • The Devon Energy Planning Group is meeting regularly. Devon County Council has been nominated as the chairing organisation and the modest funding available this financial year is to be used to progress the early stages of energy planning – namely stakeholder mapping, collating the existing project pipeline and data gathering.

2. Devon Carbon Plan 🟢 [GREEN]

Partners continue to deliver the Devon Carbon Plan. This month a progress report on the Transport section’s priority actions are available to the Response Group to review.

The existing partnerships and groups that are overseeing delivery of the priority actions in the Carbon Plan are assisting with preparing the monthly progress reports. However the secretariat is finding more success in obtaining updates by contacting stakeholders directly. This is not necessarily a problem because the information is still being obtained – just via a different route – and the information gleaned can then be shared with the oversight groups for their consideration.  

3. Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Plan 🟢 [GREEN]

A draft consultation report, including proposed amendments to the strategy was made available for the Climate Impacts Group to review from the 17th August through to the end of September. Further amendments may be necessary in October. The Response Group will be invited to endorse it by its November meeting, after which individual partners will be encouraged to endorse it via their formal procedures.

4. Devolution Update

No formal update this month. 

5. Summary Comments

  • Partners continue to implement the Devon Carbon Plan.
  • The new governance arrangements are being used to prepare the monthly Priority Action progress report, however the secretariat is finding that bypassing the oversight groups to approach individual stakeholders directly is proving more useful.
  • The adaptation strategy consultation report is being drafted.

         

                                             

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