Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting, 24th February 2022

Attendees

Doug Eltham, Devon County Council (Environment Group) 

Tina Henry, Public Health Devon 

Chris Clarke, Wales and West Utilities 

Bruce Newport, Environment Agency 

David Edmondson, Torbay Council 

Claire Gibson, Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership 

David Eaton, Teignbridge District Council 

Emmanuelle Marshall, Plymouth City Council 

Emily Widdecombe, Devon Climate Emergency 

Mark Clapham, Devon Association of Local Councils 

Rebecca Miller, Plymouth City Council  

Alex Gandy, Dartmoor National Park Authority 

Drew Powell, South Hams and West Devon District Councils 

Keir Duffin, Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise) 

Victoria Hatfield, Exeter City Council 

Jason Ball, Mid Devon District Council 

 

Apologies

Phil Norrey, Devon County Council 

Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency 

David Bartram, Exeter City Council 

Neil Hamlyn, Local Resilience Forum 

Mark Rice, Environment Agency 

Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon Councils 

Harry Barton, Devon Wildlife Trust 

Angus Berry, South West Water 

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

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

2.3 Climate Impacts Group Update

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

3. Consultation on the Partnership’s Response to the Climate Assembly 

The text to be used as the basis for the forthcoming public consultation on the partnership’s response to the Climate Assembly had been shared with the Group ahead of the meeting.  

Doug invited questions before asking the Group to endorse the text for publication.  

Chris Clarke said that it was confusing why some conditions proposed by the Climate Assembly are not proposed to be implemented even though they received more than 50% support. Doug explained this is because the resolution those conditions relate to did not receive at least 50% support.  

ACTION: Secretariat to make it clearer in the text why some conditions are not proposed to be implemented.  

Claire Gibson drew attention to the length of the consultation text and said that this will deter a lot of people from taking part in the consultation. Others agreed. Doug explained that there will be a shorter version of the consultation questionnaire which will ask respondents their opinion on just our proposed responses to the Assembly’s resolutions and not the conditions. Doug also explained that infographics will be used to make the information more accessible.  

The Group AGREED for the text to form the basis of the consultation subject to the changes discussed.

4. Partner Updates

Wales and West Utilities 

Chris reported that the Regional Energy Pathways project is almost ready for publication.  

Dartmoor National Park Authority 

Alex said that electric vehicles are being integrated into the fleet. A carbon footprint of the park area, including its consumption emissions, is being prepared. Also a carbon footprint of the authority’s land assets is being developed which is expected to help net-off their carbon emissions. 

Exeter City Council 

Victoria advised that as a harbour authority, the city council is looking at how to achieve net-zero in that service. Two new posts have been created within the authority to contribute to net-zero. Works for the solar farm at Marsh Barton are now on site – the intention is for the power from the solar farm to charge-up electric refuse vehicles. 

South Hams and West Devon Councils  

Drew said that net-zero opportunities are being looked at for Salcombe Harbour, including how the ferries can be electrified. Claire said that the universities of Exeter and Plymouth have expertise on low-carbon marine propulsion and could be invited to update the Group.  

ACTION: Doug to contact Claire to get contacts at the universities in low-carbon marine propulsion.  

The consultation on the joint Local Plan with Plymouth is now live.  

Torbay Council 

David Edmondson said that the chair of the Torbay Climate Partnership has been appointed. EV Charging Points are being installed in April in public car parks. The authority’s carbon-neutral policy and carbon plan is currently progressing through committees. Investment grade audits of its properties are underway. Two new solar farm schemes being developed.  

Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report

Period: January 2022 to February 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 continues to be about 2%. The most growth has been on the DCE Twitter account. With increased communications efforts during our upcoming public consultation, we are hoping to boost engagement significantly during the next month. 

1.1.2 Campaigns

Current: 

  • 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 
  • First online workshop was held on January 27th to welcome participants and the public and to encourage community engagement 
  • Second workshop held on the 21st February.  

1.1.3 COP26 Events

The final elements of the financial claims to the South West Energy Hub are being completed so that partners’ costs can be reimbursed.  

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: 

  • The Environment Agency trials low-carbon concrete in Flood Alleviation Scheme. This is a Net-Zero pilot project to trial low-carbon construction as part of the Environment Agency’s commitment to achieving net-zero by 2030. 
  • The North Devon Biosphere has won £1.4 million from the Community Renewal Fund to promote green growth and investment in the area, as well as raising wellbeing for local communities through nature-based solutions. 

2. Net Zero Task Force Update

2.1 Interim Carbon Plan ? [GREEN]

Comments have been received from the partnership on the re-write of the Built Environment section. A work-experience volunteer is helping to rewrite the Economy and Resources section. The Food, Land and Sea section is expected to be redrafted by the end of February.   

2.2 Citizens’ Assembly Resolutions  [GREEN] 

Comments were received from most partners by the end of January about the response to the citizens’ assembly resolutions that will be advertised for consultation. Partners’ comments have been considered and incorporated into the consultation version where required.  

The Tactical Group has made final, essential amendments to the consultation document. This is now being presented to the Response Group at its meeting on the 24th February for sign-off before publishing on the 17th March.  

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 campaign will include paid promotion on social media and a webinar. Hard copies will be available from libraries and from Devon County Council on request.  

We are on schedule to launch the consultation on the 17th March.

3. Climate Impacts Group Update [AMBER]

The group met on the 17th of January for a workshop to refresh and refine their collective vision for the Adaptation Plan. This was to ensure the group gets best value from the £25k Flood Defence Grant in Aid, awarded by the Environment Agency, towards the development of the Plan.  

A key message to come out of the workshop was that the DCIoS Adaptation Plan needs to strategically support the development of multiple other local Adaptation Plans at appropriate scales and scopes across the region, given the importance of local context for climate impacts. But it should identify key priority actions we should focus on collectively as a region.  

The brief for the Adaptation Plan has been revised to reflect the outcomes of the workshop. The Group has agreed to undertake an open market tender to award the work. This will be done in the next two months. 

4. Summary Comments 

  • Partners continue to implement the Interim Carbon Plan.  
  • The partnership is on schedule to launch the consultation on the responses to the Citizens’ Assembly resolutions 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 in the next two months.