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Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting 19th August

Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Minutes 19th August. Download a PDF of the minutes here.


  • Phil Norrey | Devon County Council (Chair)
  • Doug Eltham | Devon County Council
  • Dan Ulanowsky | Pennon Group
  • Ellie Rowlands | Devon Climate Emergency
  • David Edmondson | Torbay Council
  • Emily Reed | Devon Climate Emergency
  • Jodie Wyatt | Devon Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Emily Bullock | South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
  • Michael Titchford | North Devon District Council
  • Ken Miles | North Devon District Council
  • Sara Gibbs | Public Health Devon
  • David Ralph | Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership


  • Alex Gandy | Dartmoor National Park Authority
  • Janet Williams | Torridge District Council
  • Emma Page | University of Exeter
  • Harry Barton | Devon Wildlife Trust
  • Helen Dobby | Environment Agency
  • Clare Reid | Exmoor National Park Authority

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

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

2. Project Progress Report

2.1. Project Management Update

Ellie Rowlands and Doug Eltham provided an update reflecting Section 1 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes.


Ellie added that a series of webinars are being planning to accompany the launch of the Devon Carbon Plan on themed topics and with specific groups.

Partners offered assistance with sharing and promoting the new website once it is launched.

Spatial Planning

ACTION: Secretariat to produce a Devon Climate Emergency response to the Government’s consultation on the Planning White Paper and bring to the next Response Group meeting for sign-off.

2.1. Update from the Net-Zero Task Force

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 2 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 these minutes.

In addition, Emily advised that the 28th October meeting of the Response Group will be an opportunity to discuss any showstoppers that appear in the early draft of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan, as partners will have received this in the first week of October. And then the next meeting on the 1st December will look to get sign-off from the Response Group for the public consultation to commence the week after.

2.3. Update on the Climate Impacts Group

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 3 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes. In addition, Emily was able to advise that the Public Health Narrative has been drafted by Sara Gibbs’ team and that this was being shared with Nik Young at Public Health England for comment.

3. Influencing a Green Covid-19 Reset

David Ralph reported that:

  • The LEP is soon to publish a report about the hardest hit sectors from Covid, and following this an opportunities paper will follow in mid-September.
  • A recovery plan will be available by the end of October and clean growth will be at the heart of the recovery ambitions.
  • A representative from the Net-Zero Task Force has been invited to attend the next Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board on the 18th September.

Phil Norrey confirmed the significant ambition from all partners for the read-across between Covid recovery and climate emergency priorities.

Doug Eltham advised that the Cosy Devon partnership is looking to submit an application to the Government’s Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme by its deadline of the 1st September. The three-week application window and just 5 months for delivery makes it very difficult to procure local suppliers due to the time it takes for robust procurement processes. David said it’s these sorts of issues that the LEP can feed back to Government.

Emily Bullock reported that the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has seen an increase in Cycle to Work applications from its staff.

Emily Reed noted that she is having a conversation with the Devon County Council Economy and Enterprise Team about the skills that are necessary for reach net-zero, many of which align with the Covid recovery opportunities, too.

4. Local Updates  

David Edmondson reported that interviews for the Torbay climate change officer post are happening next week.

Ken Miles advised that councillors in North Devon are discussing the date to set for reaching net-zero carbon as part of the development of their local strategy.

Emily Bullock reported that the heatwave earlier in August saw their busiest week on record.

ACTION: Emily Reed to liaise with Emily Bullock on stats to share with the Climate Impacts Group for inclusion in the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Adaptation Plan.

Dan Ulanowsky mentioned that Water UK’s road map for making the water industry net-zero carbon by 2030 will be published next month. David Ralph reported that a £5m extension to the Zero Energy Building Catalyst (ZebCat) project is being developed for submission to the European Regional Development Fund before it closes.

5. Next Meeting

Next meeting is the 22nd September, 12:30.

Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report

Period: Jun – Aug 2020

Status Indicator key:

Red = Serious 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. Project Management Update

1.1. Activity Over the Past Month

Project Communications  

Continuing to work with the new website contractor to develop the new website. To be launched end of September.
Photo competition was launched asking for people’s visions for net-zero Devon. This has concluded and received 132 submissions – the winning photos will be used on the new website. These are already being used in social media content.
Social media and website content has been developed about the projects that partner organisations are already implementing.
Social media following continues to grow as do the subscribers to the newsletter.
Using the Climate Emergency as a Material Planning Consideration  

Devon Planning Officers’ Group met with James Shorten, the planning lead on the Net-Zero Task Force, for a second time on the 11th August. They provided further comment and steer on the draft actions for the Plan.
Covid Reset

We have received two replies from cabinet ministers thanking the DCE for its letter and each outlines their plans to ensure a green recovery.
Devon County Council submitted its bid for the second round of Emergency Active Travel Funding on the 7 August. Devon is bidding for around £1.3 million to create more permanent schemes that provide extra space for pedestrians and cyclists in order provide alternatives to public transport and to improve safety and encourage more active travel.
They Cosy Devon partnership is discussing how it can resource a DCE-wide application to the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme and develop a project by its deadline of 1st September.

1.2. Activity Expected Next Month

Project Communications

  • Development of ‘Website Phase 2’ will continue and will be approaching completion.
  • Further social media content around the upcoming Interim Devon Carbon Plan will be developed and shared

Covid Reset

  • A full report on the Economy and Business Recovery to accompany the Team Devon Prospectus was due to be completed in August but that has been delayed until September.
  • Green Homes Grant application may be submitted.

2. Net-Zero Task Force Update

Role from its Terms of Reference: To use its specialist knowledge and experience to produce an evidence-led Devon Carbon Plan, including consideration of the earliest credible date that should be set for net-zero emissions.

2.1. Activity Over the Past Month

Citizens’ Assembly

The University of Exeter was going to collaborate on a research project into the effectiveness of online deliberations to understand whether the Devon Climate Assembly could move online given the continued pandemic. The University is unable to provide research funding towards this and so a procurement exercise is being undertaken.
This work will hopefully complete in September, but the procurement may delay this by a couple of weeks.
Developing the Carbon Plan  

In-depth meetings with each of the project partners and the secretariat have now completed.
The Task Force continues to synthesise the key actions for the Version 1 Carbon Plan and its structure is taking shape. Each of the chapters is being drafted for the end of August so that the Task Force can comment on them by mid-September and the critical path diagrams of the actions can be finalised by Exeter University.

2.2. Activity Expected Next Month

Citizens’ Assembly

  • The research on the effectiveness of online deliberation will have commenced, with the final report expected by early October.

Developing the Carbon Plan

  • Actions will be refined following the feedback from partners.
  • Once actions are refined, then finalise the assessment of the carbon saving potential of the actions with the Task Force.
  • Critical path diagrams will be updated reflecting the refined actions.
  • Drafting of the Carbon Plan text will continue and this will be shared with the sub-theme leads on the Task Force for amendments.

3. Climate Impacts Group Update

Role from its Terms of Reference: To work collaboratively with the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly climate emergency projects operating in each of the three localities to use its expertise to help:

  • prepare communities for the necessary adaptations to infrastructure, services and behaviours that will be required to respond to a warmer world.
  • improve the resilience of the natural environment against the effects of climate change

3.1. Activity Over the Past Month

Narratives of the Effects of Climate Change  

Narratives on:
·        Flood and coastal risk (led by the Environment Agency) is drafted and has been shared with the Group for input.
·        The natural environment (led by the Local Nature Partnership with the Westcountry Rivers Trust) has been drafted and shared with the Group for input.
·        Health is going to make use of the Public Heat Devon Planetary Health report as Public Health England, who were going to provide a narrative, have been particularly busy with COVID.
The partners’ involved in COVID response has contributed to a slight delay in the timetable.
Subsequently, the social and economic commentary will be added by the University of Exeter.

3.2. Activity Expected Next Month

Narratives of the Effects of Climate Change

The narratives will be finalised and the University of Exeter will begin its commentary on wider social and economic issues.

4. Summary Comments

The Devon Carbon Plan is now in a phase of assembling and writing the Plan. Vital feedback from the partners at this stage has concluded.

Whilst the three-month delay to the timetable is frustrating, this has given sufficient time to have full discussions now, which will make the adoption and implementation of the Plan easier in the long-term.

The Climate Impacts Group has experienced a slight delay due to a focus of some partners on the Covid-19 response, but the impact narratives are progressing.

As a whole, the project is continuing to make progress despite the Covid-19 resource restrictions.

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