Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting, 23rd March 2022

Attendees

Phil Norrey, Devon County Council 

Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency 

Doug Eltham, Devon County Council (Environment Group) 

Chris Clarke, Wales and West Utilities 

Mark Kentell, North Devon District Council 

Keir Duffin, Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise) 

David Eaton, Teignbridge District Council 

Emily Widdecombe, Devon Climate Emergency 

Sara Gibbs, Public Health Devon 

Mark Clapham, Devon Association of Local Councils 

Emmanuelle Marshall, Plymouth City Council 

David Edmondson, Torbay Council 

Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon Councils 

Andrew Butler, National Farmers’ Union 

 

Apologies

David Bartram, Exeter City Council 

Neil Hamlyn, Local Resilience Forum 

Mark Rice, Environment Agency 

Harry Barton, Devon Wildlife Trust 

Angus Berry, South West Water 

Tina Henry, Public Health Devon 

Bruce Newport, Environment Agency 

Claire Gibson, Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership 

Rebecca Miller, Plymouth City Council  

Alex Gandy, Dartmoor National Park Authority 

Drew Powell, South Hams and West Devon District Councils 

Victoria Hatfield, Exeter City Council 

Jason Ball, Mid Devon District Council 

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 General Project Communications

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

Emily added that 90 responses had been received to date on the current consultation about the partnership’s responses to the Devon Climate Assembly. 

Mark Kentell said that Donna Sibley from North Devon and Torridge District Councils will be in touch with Emily speak further about the Food, Land and Sea chapter rewrite.   

2.3 Climate Impacts Group Update

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

Andrew Butler asked if the new format for the Adaptation Strategy will include measures required by businesses, which Emily confirmed it will.  

3. Devolution

Phil Norrey explained that Devon, Plymouth and Torbay have been invited to be a County Deal pilot. The Government’s offer to negotiate a Devon, Plymouth and Torbay (DPT) County Deal provides a once in a generation opportunity to secure additional powers, funding and flexibilities from Government, with an opportunity for local partners to secure a meaningful package of devolved funds and powers. This will better support shared economic prosperity, business progression, individual life chances, regeneration and community investment, and combats climate change. Devon County Council’s Economy and Enterprise is leading the programme. 

Doug Eltham explained that the Tactical Group had collated a list of potential ‘asks’ to include in the application. These asks had been shared with the Response Group ahead of the meeting.  

Chris Clarke suggested including funding for energy networks into the list of energy funding that could be devolved, as ultimately local residents pay for this on their bills.  

Sara Gibbs said we should ensure this opportunity is used to prioritise a just and equal transition to net-zero.  

ACTION: Doug to feed these additional comments back to the Economy and Enterprise service ahead of the application deadline on Friday 25th March. 

4. Partner Updates

Wales and West Utilities 

Chris reported that the Regional Energy Pathways project in Blaenau Gwent is now complete. 

ACTION: Chris to invite Blaenau Gwent to present findings at a future meeting.  

Torbay Council 

David Edmondson said the authority’s carbon-neutral policy and carbon plan has been approved. Investment grade audits of its properties are underway. A heat decarbonisation plan has been funded in schools.  

NFU 

Andrew Butler reported that with the Woodland Trust and funding from Lloyds bank we handed out over 23,000 trees last month to 80 NFU members. 

Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report

Period: February 2022 to March 2022

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

Newsletters continue to be issued on schedule and social media followings are growing. Monthly growth has reached 3%.  

1.1.2 Campaigns

  • Public Health Collaboration  
  • We are in the process of facilitating inter-departmental meetings to find commonality between the goals of DCE and relevant projects undertaken by Devon County Council. 
  • So far, we have met with staff from public health to lay the groundwork for long-term collaboration efforts. We intend to include more departments (e.g. transport planning) as time goes on. 
  • The first step will be sharing and aligning communications calendars to ensure that our comms link up successfully. 
  • Net-Zero Visions for Devon Climate Emergency 
  • Second workshop held on the 21st February. Community groups came together to further develop their visions for net-zero, facilitated by members of the expert panel. Discussions were productive and full of original ideas. 
  • The Net Zero Visions webpages are live on the DCE website explaining the project and showcasing the work of each commissioned artist. 
  • You can read the latest blog post on the DCE website. 

1.2 Partners’ Notable Activity

Activity is recorded centrally on the Taking Action pages of the Devon Climate Emergency website. Notable activity this month is: 

  • South Hams District Council launched its £50k Climate Engagement Fund to support community-based behavioural change projects.  

2. Net Zero Task Force Update

2.1 Interim Carbon Plan ? [GREEN]

The redraft of the Food, Land and Sea section has been circulated to the Tactical Group and the Net-Zero Task Force. Comments are due back 8th April.  

Work will now continue with redrafting the Economy and Resources section.  

2.2 Citizens’ Assembly Resolutions  [GREEN] 

The Response Group signed off the consultation texts at its meeting on the 24th February.  

The web developer and the DCE secretariat have been designing and testing the consultation questionnaire and producing infographics, newspaper adverts and assets for social media..  

The consultation launched on schedule on the 17th March.  

Communications 

  • Print copies of the consultation text, the Climate Assembly Report and the questionnaire are available in public libraries 
  • Comms strategy for paid promotion on DCE socials has been designed and is now in operation. 
  • University of Exeter comms team are helping to secure Spotlight and  radio interviews with Patrick Devine-Wright this week 
  • DCC press office launching a press release 
  • Paid advertising will be appearing in regional newspapers.  
  • Webinar on the evening of 22nd March. 

3. Climate Impacts Group Update [AMBER]

The scope of the Adaptation Plan has been revised to reflect the outcomes of the Group’s workshop in December. This revised scope is being used to design the specificiton to recruit a contractor to help prepare it.  

The Adaptation Strategy will comprise three sections: 

  1. A Climate Risk and Opportunity Assessment for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (DCIoS) 
  1. The Adaptation Plan: Creating the conditions for everyone to act on adapting to climate change together – How adaptation planning will take place and be monitored across DCIoS 
  1. An Action Plan: Priority actions for regional collaboration over the next 5 years 

The resulting Adaptation Strategy will inform a programme of regional interventions to adapt to climate change, as well as catalysing place-based, grass roots and organisational action on climate adaptation.  

The Group has agreed to undertake an open market tender to award the work rather than using a Devon County Council framework contractor.  

Devon County Council Procurement Team has advised on due process and now the climate assembly consultation has been launched, Emily will be able to dedicate time to preparing the documents and issue the tender.   

4. Summary Comments 

  • Partners continue to implement the Interim Carbon Plan.  
  • The partnership launched the consultation on the responses to the Citizens’ Assembly resolutions on schedule on March 17th.   
  • The Adaptation Plan has been redesigned to ensure the outcomes are useful to regional partners. Its next stages will be awarded to a contractor. The tender will be issued next month.