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Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting, 10th January 2023


Doug Eltham (Chaired)
Mark Clapham
Chris Clarke
Lewis Garvey
Victoria Hatfield
Charlotte Brown
Sara Gibbs
Emily Reed
James Cooper
Donna Sibley
David Edmondson
Polly Frost
David Eaton
Rebecca Miller
Harry Barton
Keir Duffin
Angus Berry
Devon County Council (Environment Group)
Devon Association of Local Councils
Wales and West
Wales and West
Exeter City Council
Devon Climate Emergency
Public Health Devon
Devon Climate Emergency
Environment Agency
Torridge and North Devon District Councils
Torbay Council
Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise)
Teignbridge District Council
Plymouth City Council
Devon Wildlife Trust
Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise)
South West Water


Meg Booth
Neil Hamlyn
Drew Powell
Janet Williams
Adam Williams
Sally Basker
David Bartram
Stephen Walford
Steve Marks
Andrew Butler
Mark Kentell
Claire Gibson
Jason Ball
Penny Tranter
Matt O’Dowd
Alex Gandy
Devon County Council (Chair)
Local Resilience Forum
South Hams and West Devon District Councils
Torridge District Council
South Hams and West Devon Councils
Exeter Science Park
Exeter City Council
Mid Devon District Council
Environment Agency
National Farmers’ Union
North Devon District Council
Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership
Mid Devon District Council
Met Office
National Grid ESO
Dartmoor National Park Authority

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes were accepted to be a true record.

2. Project Progress Report      

2.1 General Project Communications

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

No further questions asked.

2.2 Net-Zero Task Force Update

Emily provided an update reflecting Section 2.1 and 2.2 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes and invited questions.

No further questions asked.

2.3 Climate Impacts Group Update

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

No further questions asked.

3. Developing New Governance Arrangements

Doug provided a PowerPoint that detailed the proposed new governance arrangements following the period of review. The new arrangements rely heavily on existing groups and networks to oversee progress on delivering actions and reporting that progress and issues up to the Response Group.

Following considerable discussion, the Group AGREED to adopt the new governance arrangements.

It was further AGREED that:

  • The ability and ease of the groups/networks to submit reports upwards to the Response Group will be fundamental to this process working. This will need to be kept under review and respond to the needs and working practices of each group/network.
  • The whole governance structure must be kept under review. If it’s not working, it must be adapted.
  • Need to ensure the bodies delivering each action are using the equality and health principles in the Devon Carbon Plan.  This will need a review of the impact assessment procedures being used in those organisations.

ACTION: Secretariat to prepare and circulate a description of the purpose/remit of each group/network that will be used for oversight, and the representation on each group/network.

Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report 

Period: December 2022 to January 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 

Growth rate has taken a slight dip due to inactivity over the Christmas holiday period, but still positive. We have now surpassed 9500 total followers.

A line graph showing an increase in the Devon Climate Emergency Online Communications Following on all platforms
Figure 1.1. DCE Social Media Following

1.1.2 Campaigns and Projects

Business Engagement 🟠[AMBER]

Continues to be delayed due to other priorities – Secretariat is looking to do more work around business engagement. Initially, this will consist of putting together a slide pack with actions for organisations sourced from the Devon Carbon Plan Quick Read slides, which can be distributed via the South West Business Council. These will encourage businesses to endorse the Devon Climate Declaration. We will also be reviewing and updating the resources for business available on the DCE website and asking businesses to put forward case studies that we can showcase as part of a longer campaign.

Challenge-setters for the University of Exeter 🟢 [GREEN]

  • DCE acted as one of several challenge-setters for the University of Exeter’s second year Thinktank module. Two groups of students researched the question, “What is required to enable and encourage young people, including university students, to adopt more net-zero habits and lifestyles?” on behalf of DCE.
  • We attended the students’ final presentations, detailing the results of their research, on 12th December. Their research involved interviews with Exeter students and professors, covering topics including consumption, transport, media and education.
  • Findings (sample size unknown):
    • 78% of students had not heard of the DCE
    • 55% follow social media accounts linked to climate change
    • 73% believe the climate emergency can be overcome
    • 94% willing to change behaviour to reduce carbon emissions
    • 94% of students travel to campus from their term-time address using sustainable travel (Uni of Exeter report)
    • 41% don’t feel informed about what actions to adopt
    • Social media and friends are the biggest influencers of environmental behaviour
  • The students provided us with practical suggestions for how we can engage more young people with the DCE project. We will integrate their findings into DCE action and communications this year. Suggestions that we can consider include:
    • More physical presence at student events
    • Reusable coffee cups with branding offered as prizes to encourage more social media following
    • More faces of people delivering projects, and give less information on social media. Use TikTok.
    • Website needs clarifying
    • Focus on fast fashion, food sustainability and food waste
    • Collaborate with universities to integrate climate into all degrees, and launch ‘student select committees’ as a forum for engagement

Devon-Wide Community Engagement 🟠 [AMBER]

The Community Engagement Sub-Group nominated Devon County Council and Plymouth City Council to bring a proposal back to them to enhance the Community Action Group activity across Devon. This has yet to happen due to other priorities. However, a funding bid to Innovate UK was submitted by Devon County Council on 30/11/22 which includes resources to accelerate the design and scoping work for this service. We will be notified in January 2023 on the outcome.

1.2 Partners’ Notable Activity

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

  • The South West Net Zero Hub has worked with Devon County Council on a project to develop a simplified number of rural housing archetypes to support market development of retrofit across the county.

1.3 Governance

At its meeting on the 30th October, the Response Group agreed to review the future governance arrangements for the partnership to see if an alternative could be developed that would be less resource intensive and enable a greater focus on delivery.

The Secretariat has reviewed governance models used elsewhere, as recommended by the Local Government Association, ADEPT and political science and geography researchers at the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter. The Tactical Group has also fed-in to the scoping through a workshop.

A proposal was presented to the Response Group at its meeting on 10th January 2023. This was agreed and will be implemented. It will be kept under review and amended as necessary.

2. Devon Carbon Plan Update 🟢 [GREEN]

Partners, as well as organisations beyond the partnership, are now encouraged to endorse the Plan through their governance arrangements. Organisations that have endorsed so far are:

  • Plymouth City Council
  • Mid Devon District Council
  • East Devon District Council
  • Devon County Council
  • Dartmoor National Park Authority
  • Devon Association of Local Councils
  • Devon Wildlife Trust
  • Torridge District Council
  • Torbay Council
  • Exeter City Council
  • South Hams District Council
  • North Devon District Council
  • Teignbridge District Council

West Devon District Council has the Plan progressing through decision making processes.

A number of partners submitted funding bids to the Innovate UK Net-Zero Pioneer Places fund in December 2022. Devon County Council submitted a bid on the Devon Carbon Plan cross-cutting theme of ‘Knowledge Sharing, Skills and Learning’, bringing together the projects on this theme that need developing in partnership, such as the Farming Advice Service, Energy Advice Service, SME Net-Zero Advice, Net-Zero Skills Training. West Devon Borough Council and Exeter City Futures also prepared bids. The outcome of these will be known in January 2023.

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

RSK has completed the climate risk register.

Further workshops occurred in November to capture the potential adaptation options and actions against each risk. These are being finalised in January 2023, when priority actions for regional collaboration will also be decided.

The Adaptation Strategy is expected to be completed by the start of February 2023 for public consultation in early spring. The Group is discussing how that consultation would be handled in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly where area-level risk registers and action plans are being prepared simultaneously. The Group hopes to have a timetable for the consultation by the end of January.

4. Devolution Update

Government has advised that devolution is paused until at least January.

5. Summary Comments

  • Partners continue to implement the Devon Carbon Plan. 
  • The Adaptation Plan is being prepared.
  • New governance arrangements are being proposed to the Response Group on 10th January.



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