Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting, 23rd May 2022

Attendees

Phil Norrey, Devon County Council 

Emily Widdecombe, Devon Climate Emergency 

Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency 

Janet Williams, Torridge District Council 

Doug Eltham, Devon County Council (Environment Group) 

Mark Kentell, North Devon District Council 

Keir Duffin, Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise) 

Harry Barton, Devon Wildlife Trust 

Angus Berry, South West Water 

Mark Clapham, Devon Association of Local Councils 

David Edmondson, Torbay Council 

Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon Councils 

Andrew Butler, National Farmers’ Union 

Rebecca Miller, Plymouth City Council 

Claire Gibson, Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership 

Charlotte Burleigh, Devon County Council (Environment Group) 

Victoria Hatfield, Exeter City Council 

 

Apologies

Emmanuelle Marshall, Plymouth City Council 

David Eaton, Teignbridge District Council 

Sara Gibbs, Public Health Devon 

David Bartram, Exeter City Council 

Neil Hamlyn, Local Resilience Forum 

Chris Clarke, Wales and West Utilities 

Tina Henry, Public Health Devon 

Bruce Newport, Environment Agency 

Alex Gandy, Dartmoor National Park Authority 

Drew Powell, South Hams and West Devon District Councils 

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. No further questions asked. 

2.3 Climate Impacts Group Update

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 3 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes. No further questions asked.  

3. Consultation Report

Emily Reed presented the report describing the findings of the public consultation about the partnership’s response to the resolutions and conditions prepared by the Devon Climate Assembly.  

The consultation results show that the partnership’s responses to the Devon Climate Assembly have clear public support, as all but one of the partnership’s proposals to the Assembly’s resolutions have more than 50% of respondents to this consultation in agreement with them. 

The group AGREED for the report to be published on the website.  

The group further AGREED for an additional action to be included in the Devon Carbon Plan to address the issue of car park pricing, which the respondents to the consultation were keen are used to encourage modal shift to active, shared and public transport where appropriate. The action is: 

“Use car park pricing to balance the needs of vehicle access to rural and urban areas with those of reducing car use”  

Andrew Butler was surprised at the low number of submissions from Plymouth. Rebecca Miller said that there was already a consultation running in Plymouth on the Climate Emergency Planning Policy and Guidance and so it may be that people thought the consultations were one and the same.  

Harry Barton said he would not want to see the wording of actions such as the new action agreed above, be used by areas that could be doing a lot more to actually do very little. Andrew Butler and David Edmondson agreed but said that we do no need the flexibility for somewhere like Holsworthy to consider car-park charging and availability differently to places like Exeter and Torbay. Emily Reed suggested explaining what needs to happen, and why flexibility is built-in to this action, in the supporting text. The group AGREED this approach.  

ACTION: Emily to incorporate the partnership’s response to the Devon Climate Assembly into the final Devon Carbon Plan for August 2022.  

4. Devolution Update

Phil Norrey explained we are still awaiting a timetable from government, and an indication of their priorities.  

Doug Eltham added that the Devon County Council Economy and Enterprise service has asked for the climate partnership to start developing more detail for each of the devolution ideas that were included in the application. Doug asked for volunteers to help with this, but added that this is likely to need additional resource, which the Economy and Enterprise service has acknowledged.  

ACTION: Doug to circulate the devolution application.   

ACTION: All to consider volunteering staff time to help with the firming-up the devolution ideas.  

5. Purchasing Local Renewable Energy

Charlotte Burleigh advised the group that the concept of anchor institutions using Synthetic Power Purchase Agreements to buy renewable electricity direct from new, local generators is progressing.  

Legal advice has completed which has reported that there is no reason why local authorities in particular should not be using this mechanism.  

At the current stage it would be helpful to know which organisations are still interested in exploring this opportunity.  

South Hams, West Devon, Devon Wildlife Trust, South West Water, Torbay, Torridge, Plymouth and North Devon are all still interested.  

ACTION: All partners who are still interested to let Charlotte (or Doug) know.  

6. Roundtable Updates

Torbay Council 

David Edmondson said the first of the authority’s solar farms has received planning permission. A second solar farm will be going to committee next month. Torbay is continuing engagement with the community through its climate conversations.   

Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership 

Claire Gibson reported that Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) could have great benefits for the south west, according to a new study undertaken on behalf of the Southwest Local Enterprise Forum, Devon County Council, North Devon Council and Torridge District Council. FLOW presents a fantastic economic opportunity for the Southwest, as the skills needed in the supply chain are transferable between marine engineering and offshore renewable energy sector applications, but we will need to work together closely to ensure the benefits stay local.

Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report 

Period: February 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 

As predicted, our following across all platforms has begun to rise again since we have resumed our usual communications following the end of the public consultation. Growth has resumed a rate of 2%, with the largest increase in our newsletter subscription rate.  

Figure 1.1. DCE Social Media Following 

1.1.2. Current Campaigns 

Travel Devon Collaboration 

  • We are now consistently working with colleagues at Travel Devon to promote active travel to schools where possible. 

‘Naturally Healthy Month’ 

  • This May, the Devon Local Nature Partnership and Active Devon are running ‘naturally healthy month’, encouraging people to get outside and explore the natural world. 
  • This is an opportunity for DCE to highlight the health and wellbeing co-benefits of making sustainable choices (e.g encouraging active travel), as well as encouraging interest in and appreciation of nature. 

1.1.3. Future Campaigns 

Cycling campaign in September 

  • Collaboration with Active Devon, Travel Devon & Devon CC’s Environment Group to deliver a month-long campaign around cycling this September 
  • There will be community rides lead by community cycling groups, development of re-usable assets and opportunities for cycle confidence training 

Devon-Wide Community Engagement 

At its latest meeting, the Community Engagement Sub-Group heard from Devon Communities Together about its Asset-Based Community Development model. The Sub-Group learned that the approach is very similar to the Community Action Groups model run by Devon CC. The Sub-Group is now going to prepare a proposal to enhance this activity across Devon.  

Plymouth City Council is going to lead an application to the Local Government Association’s Behavioural Insights Programme to receive funding to trial a behaviour change intervention about home energy efficiency. 

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 is installing solar panels, costing £500,000, on all four of its leisure centres and is decarbonising its vehicle fleet, as well as planting a further 2.5 hectares of wildflowers across the district. 
  • English Riviera Geopark has launched a new Marine User Policy aimed at educating partners and users about ways to enjoy and use the marine environment which doesn’t damage fragile ecosystems. [Will appear on DCE website shortly] 
  • Marine Drive, Paignton, to receive permanent widening of the pavement, an upgrade to an existing and installation of an additional crossing point, improvement to cycling facilities and the introduction of a 20mph zone. [Will appear on DCE website shortly] 

2. Net-Zero Task Force Update 

2.1 Devon Carbon Plan [GREEN] 

Work is continuing with redrafting the remaining sections – Economy and Resources, Introduction and Making it Happen. These will be circulated for comment shortly.  

The Centre for Energy and Environment at the University of Exeter has started re-modelling the Action Diagrams.  

We remain on schedule to have the Devon Carbon Plan available for organisations to consider adopting from the end of August 2022.   

2.2 Citizens’ Assembly Resolutions [GREEN] 

Emily Reed has prepared the consultation report to share at the Response Group meeting on the 23rd May, along with any amendments required to the partnership’s responses.  

All but three of the partnership’s proposals have over 50% of respondents agreeing with our approach and therefore amendments are minimal. 

3. Climate Impacts Group Update [AMBER] 

The tender to recruit a consultant to help prepare the Adaptation Plan has closed and is now being evaluated. The work is expected to be completed within 6 months of awarding the tender, depending upon how much of the Strategy can be developed for the available budget. We’ll find this out in the next couple of weeks once the tenders have been evaluated and we’ll keep the partnership updated. 

4. Devolution Update 

We continue to wait for a response from government on the first application stage. A timetable has not been disclosed but it’s likely to be a couple of months.  

5. Summary Comments 

  • Partners continue to implement the Interim Carbon Plan.  
  • The partnership closed its consultation on the responses to the Citizens’ Assembly resolutions on schedule on April 14th and the analysis is underway.   
  • The final version of the Devon Carbon Plan continues to be prepared for its August deadline.  
  • The tender to recruit a contractor to assist with the Adaptation Plan is being evaluated.